First Faith W. Rice Legacy Award Presented to Jay Tischfield

Dr. Jay Tischfield has had many titles during his career and we could give him many more, like “groundbreaker,” “pioneer,” and “innovator,” to name a few. But most importantly, Faith Rice called him friend.

Dr. Tischfield was already a well-established leader in genetics research when Faith walked into his office at Rutgers University.  She had read that he had been awarded more than $20 million in federal funding to build and run the world’s largest university-based biorepository for mental health disorders. But Tourette Syndrome was not on the list.

Faith being Faith, was not going to be happy (or stop harassing Dr. Tischfield) until TS was included. At the time there was a lack of collaboration among TS researchers and a lack of progress in finding answers into the cause, treatments and a cure. Within a month of their initial conversation, it was added to the list and Faith recruited the families they needed to make it happen.

200 New Jersey families stepped forward to donate genetic material. And thanks to Faith and Dr. Tischfield, NJCTS and Rutgers established the NJCTS Cell & DNA Sharing Repository – the world’s first sharing resource of TS clinical data and genetic samples from which all qualified scientists could draw for their research.

Just four years into the pilot program, the National Institute of Mental Health funded its expansion which led the Rutgers/NJCTS partnership to establish TIC Genetics and 25 collection sites across the world. This international team of researchers have had some of the first breakthroughs and progress in understanding the genetic causes of Tourette syndrome.

This collaboration, and the progress made because of it, is Faith and Dr. Tischfield’s legacy.

We created the Faith W. Rice Legacy Award to honor someone who has been a vanguard, who has gone above and beyond in education, advocacy and research. Someone whose accomplishments have enriched the lives of those living with Tourette Syndrome. That is why we have chosen Faith’s friend, and favorite collaborator, as the first recipient of this Legacy award.