2017 AST Achievement Award Recipients

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mount Laurel, NJ – May 25, 2017 - The American Society of Transplantation (AST) announced the recipients of its 2017 Achievement Awards at the recent American Transplant Congress (ATC) meeting in Chicago. The recipients were awarded for their achievements and contributions to the AST and to the field of transplantation.

 “This year’s recipients are genuine leaders in transplantation, and I applaud them for their dedication, service and success,” said AST President, Ron Gill, PhD.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Daniel Salomon, MD and William Harmon, MD

The 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded posthumously to Dr. Daniel Salomon and Dr. William Harmon. It was presented in honor of Thomas Starzl, MD, PhD.

Dr. Daniel Salomon was a visionary leader that believed the greatest research could be done if more researchers moved towards cutting edge science and used the latest technologies available. His research and collaborations have advanced our understanding of genomics and biomarkers to determine transplant tolerance and to detect organ rejection in time to take action.

Dr. Salomon passed away in late 2016. He was a former President of the AST and the co-founder of the Transplantation and Immunology Research Network (TIRN).

As a pediatric nephrologist, Dr. William Harmon spent his career focused on children with end-stage renal disease, and he advocated ardently for these young patients. The AST was one of many organizations that benefitted from his leadership, commitment, and influence. Dr. Harmon spent time in several leadership roles in his career, including a 2002-2003 presidency for the AST.

Dr. Starzl passed away in early 2017. He performed the first liver transplant and the first successful series of kidney transplants. His groundbreaking work in surgery and immunology has benefited the transplant community for over 50 years.

AST Achievement Awards

AST Senior Achievement in Clinical Transplantation Award – Stanley Jordan, MD FASN FAST, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Dr. Jordan’s early work in IVIG for desensitization of antibody rejection set the stage for later developments by other investigators in this field. His discoveries have led to advances in diagnoses and treatment of immunologically disadvantaged patients awaiting life-saving transplantation.

AST Mentoring Award – Kimberly Brown, MD, Henry Ford Hospital

Dr. Brown has mentored over 50 trainees in her career. Nearly all the gastrointestinal fellows in Michigan have benefited from her training.

AST Transplant Advocacy Award – Barbara Lee, MSW, ACSW, LCSW, Vidant Medical Center

Ms. Lee has dedicated her career to the care of end-stage renal disease and transplant recipients. In addition, she has been an organ donation advocate for over 20 years for several community organizations.

AST Clinician of Distinction Award – James Rodrigue, PhD, Transplant Institute Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Dr. Rodrigue has fostered major improvements in clinical care through his practice, research activities, lectures, and extensive leadership service. He was one of the first psychologists in the country to make a full-time commitment to transplantation, and he has trained many psychologists now working in transplantation in the United States.

AST Basic Science Established Investigator Award – William Burlingham, PhD, University of Wisconsin

Dr. Burlingham has devoted his career to the study of transplantation tolerance, as demonstrated by over 100 publications and more than 20 RO1 or R21 grants. His scientific discoveries span bench to bedside, and have changed the way we think about immune responses to a transplanted organ.

AST Clinical Science Established Investigator Award – John Gill, MD, MS, University of British Columbia

Dr. Gill has published more than 100 papers, and his research has garnered over 20 million dollars in peer reviewed funding. During his career, Dr. Gill has had a special focus on the development of consensus in clinical practice, including policy statements.

AST Basic Science Investigator Award –  Reza Abdi, MD, Brigham and Women's Hospital

Dr. Abdi has strong interests in diverse research topics centered around immune activation, graft rejection, and transplant outcomes. He has received numerous awards from the AST, the JDRF, and other organizations.

AST Clinical Science Investigator Award –  Alexander Loupy, MD, PhD, Paris Transplant Research Center for Organ Transplantation, Necker Hospital Paris

Dr. Loupy authored and co-authored 45 peer-reviewed manuscripts. His work on the role of complement-activating DSA’s in mediation of allograft injury is one of the most important contributions to our field to date, and is referenced in nearly every presentation and paper on ABMR.

AST Basic Science Career Development Award - Andrew Adams, MD, PhD, Emory University School of Medicine

Despite being early in his career, Dr. Adams’ work has already impressed senior investigators. He has had a major role in research that extends costimulation blockade to non-human primate transplantation studies. Additionally, he has been adept at helping to illustrate how pre-existing immune memory in the transplant recipient results in resistance to tolerance induction.

AST Basic Science Career Development Award - Jason Wertheim, MD, PhD, Northwestern University

Dr. Wertheim’s research focuses on developing bioartificial tissue to restore or replace damaged organs. His research involves developing specialized cells and biomaterials to uncover the critical knowledge describing mechanisms that instruct tissues to regenerate and regain function. The central theme of his approach is to identify essential drivers that influence stem cell differentiation within 3D biological scaffolds to model tissue development and promote cellular maturation. This is achieved through a focus on developing new methods to repair, regenerate and replace damaged organs, such as the liver, kidney and vasculature. His research involves a multidisciplinary approach in tissue bioengineering, stem cell biology, and regenerative medicine to utilize and modify biological scaffolds and other biomaterials that support the growth of new cells with minimal, or no, immunogenicity.

AST Clinical Science Career Development Award –  Elizabeth Verna, MD, MSc, Columbia University

Dr. Verna is a gifted and resourceful researcher who is fully committed to a career in patient-oriented research in transplantation. She now serves as an assistant professor on tenure track and is the Director Clinical Research for Columbia’s Transplant Clinical Research Center.


AST Faculty and Fellowship Grants

AST TIRN/Astellas Clinical Science Faculty Development Research Grant - Wayne M Tsuang, MD, MHS, Cleveland Clinic

Dr. Tsuang’s was selected for this grant for his research project titled “Improving Access to Lung Transplant with Broader Geographic Sharing.” His research aims to determine how changing the Donor Service Areas (DSAs) would impact those in need of lung transplants.

AST TIRN Basic Science Faculty Development Research Grant - Anne D. Cherry, MD, Duke University

Dr. Cherry received this grant for her research project titled “Interface of Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Immune Activation in Heterotopic Mouse Heart Transplant.” Her project aims to reduce primary graft dysfunction (PGD) in transplant patients.

AST TIRN/Bristol Myers Squibb Basic Science Fellowship Research Grant - Scott Krummey, MD, PhD, Emory University School of Medicine

Dr. Krummey was selected to receive this grant for his research project, “Dual Coinhibitor Receptor Signaling to Restrain Graft-Specific Memory T-Helper 17 Cell Responses.” The research explores the potential of differentially manipulating CD28/CTLA-4 signals along with the PD-1 pathway to potently restrain human allogeneic CD4+ Th17 responses.

AST TIRN Translational Science Fellowship Research Grant - Mark Snyder, MD, Columbia University Medical Center

Dr. Snyder was awarded this grant for his research project, “Role of tissue resident memory T cells in both acute and chronic rejection following lung transplantation.” This research aims to define the dynamics of how donor and recipient Trm cells are maintained in the lung following transplantation, and to investigate the function and specificity of Trm cells to common viral pathogens of the lung following transplant.

AST TIRN/Wood MacMillan Charitable Fund Allied Health Professional Research Grant - Jennifer Trofe-Clark, PharmD, BCPS, FCCP, FAST, Perelman School of Medicine

Dr. Trofe-Clark received this grant for her research project entitled “Assessments of Literacy, Cognitive Function and Medication Knowledge in Renal Transplant Recipients in the Ambulatory Care Setting.” Her project aims to improve medication literacy and adherence in renal transplant recipients.

AST TIRN/Astellas Research Grant - David Rothstein, MD, University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Rothstein was selected for this grant for his research project, “Transitional-1 (T1) B cell cytokine ratio as a prognostic biomarker for clinical course in renal transplantation that guides therapeutic intervention.” This research focuses on transitional-1 (T1) B cell cytokine as a prognostic biomarker, as current clinical markers cannot sufficiently predict outcomes and identify individuals needing a preemptive increase immunosuppression .

About the AST

Founded in 1982, the American Society of Transplantation (AST) is an organization of more than 3,500 professionals dedicated to advancing the field of transplantation and improving patient care by promoting research, education, advocacy, and organ donation. The society is the largest transplant organization in North America and is recognized as the premier society for transplantation. AST members are sought out as transplant experts and advocates. Other transplant organizations, policy makers, regulatory agencies, payors, academic institutions, and the general public look to the AST for guidance, research, and resources related to transplantation.