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Nine Researchers Honored for Outstanding Achievements at AACC Meeting

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 19 Jul 2012
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AACC 2012: American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC; Washington DC, USA) President Greg Miller, PhD, presented nine awards at the 2012 annual meeting in Los Angeles (CA, USA).

Eric D. Green, MD, PhD received the Wallace H. Coulter Lectureship Award, which recognizes an individual whose efforts have had a profound effect on the field of clinical chemistry. He is director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda (MD, USA), where he is chief of its technology branch, and director of the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center.

Dr. Green has led efforts to map, sequence, and understand eukaryotic genomes. He provided important insights about genome structure, function, and evolution.

Thomas P. Moyer, PhD, received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. Dr. Moyer is professor of laboratory medicine and pathology, clinical laboratory director, and senior vice president of Mayo Medical Laboratories Rochester (MN, USA). He created and directed the drug laboratory there, and has developed more than 120 diagnostic test procedures.

The AACC Award for Outstanding Contributions through Service to the Profession of Clinical Chemistry was presented to John E. Sherwin, PhD. Dr. Sherwin recently retired from his position as director of laboratory operations for Perkin Elmer Life and Analytical Sciences in (Waltham, MA, USA), where he was responsible for the genetic screening and neural tube defects laboratories.

David B. Sacks, MB, ChB won the AACC Award for Outstanding Contributions in Education. He is senior investigator, chief of the clinical chemistry service, and deputy chief of the department of laboratory medicine at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.

In his previous positions as associate professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA, USA) and medical director of clinical chemistry at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston (MA, USA), he established and directed a residency training program in clinical pathology. During the 20 years he directed the program more than 50 residents were recruited who have become successful physician-scientists and leaders in health care.

Dr Sacks' scientific work is in the area of intracellular signal transduction, with a focus on calcium and calmodulin signaling. His primary clinical interest is in diabetes mellitus, with an emphasis on the interface between the clinical laboratory and patient care.

Yuk-Ming Dennis Lo, MD accepted the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry in a Selected Area of Research, which is cosponsored by the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry, for his paradigm-changing work in prenatal diagnostics. Dr. Lo is the director of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (China) and chair of the department of chemical pathology of the same institute.

Dr. Lo and colleagues made the discovery that the DNA of the fetus can be found in the plasma of the pregnant mother. This discovery challenged the conventional wisdom that the placenta serves as a barrier between the fetal and maternal blood, and opened new possibilities for noninvasive prenatal diagnosis. Subsequently Dr. Lo elucidated the fundamental biological characteristics of the fetal DNA in the mother’s bloodstream and demonstrated that it can be used for the prenatal diagnosis of diseases and for blood group genotyping.

Dr Lo developed an approach based on molecular counting and genetic sequencing to detect fetal chromosome abnormalities. He, together with his team published the first large-scale validation of this technology for Down syndrome detection, and the technology was introduced into clinical practice. Recently, Dr. Lo demonstrated that a genetic map of the fetus could be deduced by sequencing of the pregnant mother’s plasma. His work has made prenatal testing safer for the fetus and less stressful for the mother.

The Award for Scientific Achievements by a Young Investigator went to Andy Hoofnagle, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the department of laboratory medicine at the University of Washington (Seattle). He also serves as the director of clinical mass spectrometry, director of reference lab services, and assistant director of the clinical chemistry and clinical immunology laboratories.

Dr. Hoofnagle's laboratory has helped pioneer the clinical use of immunoaffinity peptide enrichment to quantify low-abundance proteins in complex mixtures. His team has also demonstrated the potential for bottom-up proteomics approaches in the quantification of proteins in the clinical laboratory. His laboratory has developed high-throughput assays for vitamin D metabolites that have been used in population studies to quantify the cardiovascular risk associated with low vitamin D levels.

Hans Lilja, MD, PhD received the Morton K. Schwartz Award for Significant Contributions in Cancer Research Diagnostics. Dr. Lilja is an attending research clinical chemist in the department of laboratory medicine at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York, NY, USA), an adjunct professor in the department of laboratory medicine at Lund University (Malmö, Sweden), and a Finland Distinguished Professor at the University of Tampere (Finland).

Dr. Lilja’s discoveries involving prostate-specific antigen (PSA) led to widespread use of the PSA test as a marker for prostate cancer. His current research focuses on biomarker discovery, assay development, and clinical validation of biomarkers in population-based cohorts. His research has refined the association between PSA levels and prognosis, and identified additional markers, including a panel that can help to determine which men should have a prostate biopsy.

The Helen Free Travel Award provides financial assistance to allow a nondoctoral-level AACC member to attend an AACC meeting. The winner was Sue Lam, who is a medical technologist in the molecular diagnostics laboratory of the hospital at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (Newark, NJ, USA).

She contributes poster presentations at national meetings—including this AACC meeting, where Ms. Lam will present her current project on the virologic response of inner-city patients infected with Hepatitis C virus. Ms. Lam’s expertise includes a wide range of clinical laboratory technologies including several molecular diagnostics measurement procedures. She contributes poster presentations at national meetings—including this AACC meeting, where Ms. Lam will present her current project on the virological response of inner-city patients infected with Hepatitis C virus.

The AACC Past President’s Award was presented to Ann M. Gronowski, PhD a professor in the department of pathology and immunology and the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (MO, USA). She is associate medical director of the clinical chemistry, serology, and immunology laboratories at Barnes-Jewish Hospital (St. Louis, MO, USA).

The AACC’s consumer-oriented website Lab Tests Online celebrated its 10th anniversary and the 100 millionth visitor by continuing to expand its national and international reach. The site now meets the needs of 2 million visitors a month, with 15 international sites in 12 languages.

Awards were sponsored by the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, Abbott Diagnostics, BD Diagnostics – Preanalytical Systems, Beckman Coulter, Inc., Roche Diagnostics, and Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics.

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