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2022 ASH Honorific Award Recipients Announced

July 26, 2022

August 2022

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) has announced the recipients of the 2022 Honorific Awards, to be recognized at the 64th ASH Annual Meeting & Exposition in December.

The Honorific Awards recognize exemplary hematologists who have made significant contributions to the field. This year’s recipients include pioneering scientists, innovative clinicians, and selfless mentors who have advanced hematology through a variety of vital contributions. The 2022 Honorific Award recipients are:

Wallace H. Coulter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hematology

Irving Weissman, MD, Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

A trailblazer in cancer stem cell biology, Dr. Weissman has made monumental contributions to hematology over the past 56 years and is best known for his research on hematopoiesis, leukemia, and hematopoietic stem cells.

In 1992, he published the first isolation of human blood-forming stem cells and from there began pivotal clinical trials on metastatic breast cancer. His laboratory developed a method to isolate the blood-forming stem cells from the cancerous mutations, enabling these cells to be delivered back to patients after chemotherapy as an effective treatment for the underlying disease. This discovery revolutionized the cancer community’s understanding of the role of stem cells in drug development.

Dr. Weissman’s later work led to the discovery that CD47, an age marker on red blood cells that is used to detect and eliminate emerging cancerous stem cells, could be targeted to treat blood cancer without chemotherapy and radiation, transforming the way scientists and physicians approach blood cancers in the lab and clinic.

In addition to Dr. Weissman’s scientific accomplishments, this award recognizes his dedicated mentorship of generations of basic scientists and clinical investigators who have become leaders in hematology.

ASH Award for Leadership in Promoting Diversity

James Gavin, MD, PhD, Emory University School of Medicine and Indiana University School of Medicine, and David Wilkes, MD, Indiana University School of Medicine

Drs. Gavin and Wilkes have worked closely together for decades to promote diversity through their leadership of the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program (AMFDP) of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, specifically involving the ASH-AMFDP collaboration. They have a combined 28 years (and counting) of service with the AMFDP.

ASH Mentor Award

Michael Caligiuri, MD, City of Hope National Medical Center

Dr. Caligiuri has mentored more than 100 individuals over three decades. Mentees have admired his commitment to make time for all, despite significant laboratory and administrative responsibilities. Diversity and inclusion are key priorities of his mentorship work, with a deep concern for supporting populations that are underrepresented in academic medicine and hematology. He has been an active and supportive mentor in the ASH Minority Medical Student Award Program (MMSAP).

Christopher Flowers, MD, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Dr. Flowers has served as a mentor to individuals at all levels, ranging from high school students to junior faculty members. He is committed to recruiting and mentoring underrepresented minorities and co-developed the ASH Minority Recruitment Initiative (MRI), which provides a 13-year pipeline of awards extending from the first year of medical school to faculty positions. Mentees have noted that Dr. Flowers is generous with his time, remains open to new research ideas, and seeks out opportunities to promote their success and career growth.

E. Donnall Thomas Lecture and Prize

Bruce Blazar, MD, University of Minnesota Medical School

With a career spanning more than 35 years, Dr. Blazar has made innumerable contributions to the fields of transplantation immunology and stem cell transplantation, with a focus on reducing transplant complications. His most recent discovery was the causal role of activated germinal center B cells in chronic graft-versus-host disease, which significantly contributed to the approval of ibrutinib for its treatment.

Ernest Beutler Lecture and Prize

This award recognizes the work of Dr. Peter Hillmen for his 30 years of research on paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), a rare genetic blood disease that causes red blood cells to break apart, and Dr. John Atkinson for his discovery of an immune system regulator, termed membrane cofactor protein. Both breakthroughs have advanced the understanding of the complement system, a fundamental component of the human immune system that plays a significant role in the manifestation of many blood disorders.

Peter Hillmen, MD, PhD, University of Leeds School of Medicine

Dr. Hillmen currently leads the National PNH Service in the U.K., serving over 500 patients with PNH. He developed and led a series of clinical trials on eculizumab, a drug that has since transformed PNH treatment and significantly increased survival rates for patients.

John Atkinson, MD, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Dr. Atkinson’s clinical research on complement was fundamental in eventually developing eculizumab. His recent research aims to understand genetic factors in atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome and address the role of the complement system in COVID-19 infection.

Henry M. Stratton Medal

Basic Science: Timothy Ley, MD, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Over the past decade, Dr. Ley’s work has focused on the genomics of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), including sequencing the first AML cancer genome, discovering genes mutated in AML, defining the clonal architecture of AML, identifying the therapeutic implications of mutation detection, and studying the biology of DNMT3A mutations. He hopes to solve the mystery of how AML-initiating events reprogram hematopoietic stem cells to make them more fit for transformations.

Translational Research: Robert Montgomery, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin

Dr. Montgomery has dedicated his career to understanding von Willebrand factor (VWF), its interactions with factor VIII, and von Willebrand disease (VWD) manifestations. He was the first to recognize the relationship of the VWF propeptide to the mature VWF protein. His research has not only advanced the fundamental understanding of VWF biosynthesis and function but also translated to the diagnosis and management of patients with VWD.

William Dameshek Prize

Irene Ghobrial, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Dr. Ghobrial’s research lies in understanding the mechanisms of disease progression in multiple myeloma (MM). Her paradigm-changing work, including the use of cell-free DNA to demonstrate genomic alterations over time, has been recognized by her peers for its quality and its social relevance. Her most notable accomplishment is the PROMISE study, the first U.S. screening study for precursors of MM that has screened 30,000 individuals who are at high risk for MM.


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