The award recognizes people with an outstanding career for their relationship with the University and their social impact.

On Thursday, November 16, the AmicsUAB Association presented its individual and collective awards at its annual meeting, which this year reached its 21st edition. The event was attended by the rector of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), Javier Lafuente; the president of the Social Council of the UAB, Tània Nadal; and the president of the association, Susanna Baqué. The journalist Carles Prats hosted the evening, which took place at the UAB Casa Convalescència and featured a performance by the University's chamber orchestra.

In the individual category, Amic dels Amics, which recognizes people with an outstanding career for their relationship with the university and its social impact, four members of the teaching and research staff of the University were awarded. The first was Dr. Xavier Montalban, professor in the Department of Medicine at the UAB, director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Catalonia (Cemcat) and head of the Neurology Service of the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital and of the Neuroimmunology Research Group of the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute. Dr. Jesús Alturo, professor of the Department of Sciences of Antiquity and the Middle Ages, and Dr. Tania Alaix, researcher at the Seminar of Paleography, Codicology and Diplomacy of the UAB, have received the same distinction. Finally, Dr. Margarita Arboix, former rector of the UAB (2016-2020), has also been recognized.

With a degree and doctorate in medicine from the UAB, Dr. Xavier Montalban has a long association with the University. Since 2006 he has been a professor in the Department of Medicine. He also directs the Cemcat-UAB Chair of Neuroimmunology, created in 2015 to promote teaching and research, and has also directed and coordinated the UAB Master's Degree in Neuroimmunology. "After so many years linked to the University, I am sincerely grateful to receive this recognition. UAB is the house where I have been trained and where I have transmitted the knowledge acquired during my professional career to future generations of neuroimmunology professionals," states Montalban. "It is a university of excellence, but we must take advantage of all the opportunities that allow us to improve and position it as an international benchmark. The award is a motivation to continue working to achieve this goal."

Throughout more than three decades of career, the tireless involvement and dedication of Dr. Xavier Montalban has had a substantial impact in all areas of multiple sclerosis research and clinical care. He has published more than 800 articles in prestigious national and international journals, directed 34 doctoral theses, given more than 500 conferences and led or collaborated in more than 70 research projects. In addition, his work has received multiple recognitions and awards. These include the Charcot Award in 2023 from the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF), the most prestigious international distinction within the scientific and social community of Multiple Sclerosis, as well as the John Dystel Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), awarded in 2022, in recognition of contributions that have changed the course of diagnosis and treatment of multiple sclerosis.

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