WASHINGTON, DC, June 22—On July 15, The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) will honor 12 scientists for their outstanding achievements at its annual awards ceremony. AACC President Gary L. Myers, PhD, and representatives from sponsoring companies will present the awards at the association’s 59th annual meeting, which is being held in San Diego, CA.
The AACC Lectureship Award, which recognizes an individual whose efforts have had a profound effect on the field of clinical chemistry, will be given to an internationally known scientist, William Evans, PharmD
Dr. Evans has been director and chief executive officer of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, since 2004. He holds the St. Jude Endowed Chair at the University of Tennessee Colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine. He has held many positions at each institution. From 1986 to 2002, he chaired the pharmaceutical department at St. Jude. A University of Tennessee professor since 1983, he chaired the department of clinical pharmacy from 1983 to 1991.
For the past 30 years, his research at St. Jude has focused on the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and pharmacogenomics of anticancer agents in children. For this research, he has received three consecutive National Institutes of Health MERIT Awards from the National Cancer Institute. The major thrust of his pharmacogenomics research is acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children.
Dr. Evans has authored more than 300 articles and book chapters, has edited several textbooks and scientific journals, and has received several national awards for his research.
His lecture at the opening plenary session of the AACC Annual Meeting is titled “Pharmacogenomics: Acute Lymphblastic Leukemia as a Cancer Paradigm.”
W. Greg Miller Jr., PhD, will receive the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry. Dr. Miller is professor of pathology, director of clinical chemistry, and director of pathology information systems at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
He has served the AACC in several capacities. He is currently a member of the board of editors of Clinical Chemistry and is the AACC liaison to an International Organization for Standardization technical committee. He has chaired the Lipids and Lipoproteins Division and the Standards Committee.
Dr. Miller has also been active in several other professional organizations. He is currently treasurer of the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) and a member of several of its subcommittees. He chaired the CLSI Area Committee for Clinical Chemistry and Toxicology for five years. Dr. Miller also serves as chair of the Laboratory Working Group of the National Institutes of Health/National Kidney Disease Education Program. He is active on committees of the College of American Pathologists, American Diabetes Association, National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Program, and International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC). He has contributed to training 26 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in clinical chemistry and has published 100 papers, book chapters, and monographs.
The AACC Award for Outstanding Contributions Through Service to the Profession of Clinical Chemistry goes to Mathias M. Müller, MD. Dr. Müller is professor of medical chemistry at the University of Vienna, Austria. He recently retired as director of the Institute of Laboratory Diagnostics at Kaiser Franz Josef Hospital and Preyer Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Müller’s major research interests are related to purine metabolism and clinical and applied biochemistry. His research has covered a broad scope of subjects, from early studies of various enzymes, to studies of murine metabolism in skeletal muscle and endothelial cells, to his recent explorations of laboratory diagnosis in transplantation medicine and the use of tumor markers. He has published some 300 scientific papers, is author or co-author of more than 250 abstracts, and has edited or co-edited seven books and proceedings. He serves on the editorial boards of several leading journals.
He has served the Austrian Society of Clinical Chemistry as secretary, treasurer, vice president, and president. He is currently president of the Austrian Society of Quality Assurance and Standardization. He has served the IFCC in many capacities, including as vice president and president. He is currently past-president. He initiated the global IFCC campaign for disease management on diabetes mellitus and other programs.
Craig A. Lehmann, PhD, has won the AACC Award for Outstanding Contributions in Education. Dr. Lehmann is dean and a professor at the School of Health Technology and Management at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, NY. In addition to these duties, he is currently interim executive dean for the Health Sciences Center.
His 40-year affiliation with Stony Brook University began in 1967 as a member of the chemistry department and includes a nine-year stint chairing the clinical laboratory services division. Among his many duties, his philanthropic endeavors this year alone have generated $1 million for student scholarships. Dr. Lehmann’s teaching has been recognized by many awards, including the State University of New York’s coveted Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Provost’s Award for Exceptional Service to Undergraduate Education.
Dr. Lehmann is the author, editor, or co-editor of five clinical laboratory science textbooks. He also produced a four-part educational video entitled, “Automation in the Clinical Laboratory.”
Michael J. Bennett, PhD, will accept the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry in a Selected Area of Research. Dr. Bennett is professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the metabolic disease laboratory at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He also holds the Evelyn Willing Bromley Endowed Chair in Clinical Laboratories and Pathology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
The main focus of Dr. Bennett’s research has been the investigation of inborn errors of mitochondrial energy metabolism with a special emphasis on disorders of fatty acid metabolism. His research led to the expansion of newborn screening by tandem mass spectrometry, in which most newborns are now screened for a number of other inborn errors of metabolism.
Dr. Bennett has also devoted 25 years to studying a group of untreatable and devastating inherited neurodegenerative diseases known collectively as Batten disease. He recently identified a novel pathway in one of these diseases that may lead to a new therapy. He has published more than 225 peer-reviewed scientific papers, reviews, and book chapters and has been involved with the organization of numerous national and international congresses.
The Young Investigator Award will be presented to Loralie J. Langman, PhD. Dr. Langman is director of the drug/toxicology laboratory at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
She has produced more than 30 publications and 40 abstracts/presentations at national and international meetings. She has many areas of expertise in toxicology, particularly in antipsychotic drugs, drugs of abuse (particularly amphetamine-type stimulants), post-mortem toxicology, and pharmacogenetics. Her current research interests include pharmacogenomics of amphetamine-type stimulants, and genotype–phenotype relationships of psychoactive medications.
Dr. Langman serves on committees for several professional organizations, including the AACC, Society of Forensic Toxicologists, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry, Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists, International Association of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Clinical Toxicology, and New York Academy of Sciences.
Danyal B. Syed, PhD, will receive the AACC International Travel Fellowship, which enables recognized clinical chemists to promote the practice and profession of clinical chemistry abroad. Dr. Syed is a consultant and laboratory director at William F. Ryan Community Health Center in New York City.
A member of the AACC for the past 28 years, Dr. Syed has served the New York Metro Section as chair, member of the executive board, and chair of the education committee. He served on the organizing committee of the Northeast regional alliance meetings (LAB MED) in 2004 and 2005. He has served the Clinical Ligand Assay Society (CLAS) as president of the New York Metro Chapter, on the national board, and as chair of several committees.
He is a life member of the Pakistan Society of Chemical Pathologists. Dr. Syed plans to travel to his native Pakistan to visit public and private clinical laboratories in both urban and rural settings, to assess the quality of testing, and to promote the concepts of total quality management. He will also explore the possibility of starting a postdoctoral fellowship program in clinical chemistry at the University of Health Sciences at Lahore.
The Award for an Outstanding Contribution for a Publication in the Journal Clinical Chemistry will be presented to Yuk-Ming Dennis Lo, MD, for a paper on the use of fetal DNA markers for prenatal diagnosis.
Dr. Lo is professor of chemical pathology and the Dr. Li Ka Shing Professor of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is also the associate dean for research of the faculty of medicine, the director of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences, and associate director of the state laboratory in oncology in South China.
Dr. Lo’s main research interests lie in the biology and diagnostic applications of cell-free DNA and RNA in plasma. The concepts explored in the award-winning paper have implications for the development of other fetal epigenetic markers for noninvasive prenatal diagnosis.
Dr. Lo has pioneered a number of other important applications of plasma nucleic acids; he has published more than 230 articles in international journals. The winning paper is: “Hypermethylated RASSFIA in Maternal Plasma: A Universal Fetal DNA Marker that Improves the Reliability of Noninvasive Prenatal Diagnosis.” Chan KCA, Ding C, Gerovassili A, Yeung SW, Chiu RWK, Leung TN, Lau TK, Chim SSC, Chung GTY, Nicolaides KH, Lo YMD. Clin Chem 2006;52:2211–8.
The Morton K. Schwartz Award for Significant Contributions in Cancer Research Diagnostics will go to Eleftherios P. Diamandis, MD, PhD.
Dr. Diamandis is division head of clinical biochemistry in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital; biochemist-in-chief at the University Health Network and Toronto Medical Laboratories; and division head of clinical biochemistry in the department of laboratory medicine and pathobiology at the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada.
Dr. Diamandis has been active in the field of cancer diagnostics over the past 20 years. He currently chairs the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry effort to develop guidelines for the clinical use of tumor markers. His main research interests are tumor markers, especially a group of enzymes called human tissue kallikreins. His most recent research focuses on proteomic methodologies for identifying novel cancer biomarkers and the physiology of kallikrein enzymes, as they relate to cancer initiation and progression. He is also conducting research to validate multiparametric panels for early ovarian, breast, and prostate cancer diagnosis.
Dr. Diamandis serves on the boards of 25 journals. He has published more than 400 original papers and holds 13 patents, with another 20 pending. He co-authored a recent textbook, Tumor Markers.
The Edwin Ullman Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions that advance the technology of clinical laboratory science, will be given to Pratap Singh, PhD.
Dr. Singh is a research fellow and principal scientist in the assay development group of a Dade Behring facility in Glasgow, Delaware. He has been on the staff of Dade Behring and its predecessor firms since 1984.
His research interests include bio-conjugation, protein modification and characterization, and organic synthesis. In the early 1990s, he conceived the use of dendrimers, well-defined nanoscopic synthetic polymers, in assays requiring very low detection limits and excellent precision. This work led to the development of the Stratus CS, an automated clinical analyzer able to analyze six key analytes, including key cardiac markers such as cardiac troponin I and N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide. These and other sensitive assays on the Stratus CS have found great utility in emergency room and critical-care settings, where quick decisions for cardiac and other patients are needed.
Dr. Singh is a co-inventor of seven patents relating to clinical diagnostics and a contributing author of a chapter in a book on dendrimers. He has published more than 20 research articles in the fields of clinical and organic chemistry.
The Award for Outstanding Clinical Laboratory Contributions to Patient Safety was presented to Lucia M. Berte, MA. Ms. Berte is the president of Laboratories Made Better! P.C., a company based in Broomfield, CO, that provides consulting services for health-care quality management. For the past decade she has provided laboratory clients and professional organizations in Europe, Asia, and North, Central, and South America with training in quality management systems, assistance in quality management implementation, development and control of laboratory documents, and development of training and competence assessment programs.
She has 15 years experience as an American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) inspector. She was a charter member of the AABB committee that developed the “Quality System Essentials” that have become the backbone of the AABB’s standards and accreditation programs. She served as workshop faculty and audioconference speaker for numerous continuing education programs and is a member of the AABB Quality Management Subcommittee of the Standards Committee.
Ms. Berte chaired and participated in several subcommittees and work groups of the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute, with particular attention to guidelines for implementing a laboratory quality management system. She was a charter faculty member of the American Society of Clinical Pathology’s (ASCP) teleconference program in the early 1980s, and achieved high scores as a faculty member of ASCP’s Workshops for Laboratory Professionals.
The AACC Past President’s Award will be presented to John E. Sherwin, PhD. Dr. Sherwin is currently the acting chief of the Genetic Disease Branch that is responsible for the prenatal and newborn screening testing programs of the state of California in Richmond, CA.
His previous positions include directing laboratories at hospitals in Chicago and Fresno, CA. He has held positions as technical director and chief operating officer of multimillion-dollar reference laboratories and been a consultant to a variety of businesses and physician practices.
He has more than 50 publications to his credit, primarily in his main research area of pediatric laboratory medicine. He has served the AACC in many capacities with both the Chicago and Northern California local sections. Among his many contributions at the national level, he has chaired the Commission for Education and Scientific Affairs, the Commission on Publications, and the Public Relations Program.
He considers his greatest accomplishment as AACC president to be the establishment, with the generous support of Gopal Savjani, of the Past Presidents’ Scholarship fund, which is designed to help young clinical chemists receive the quality postdoctoral training that will keep the AACC and the field of laboratory medicine vibrant for years to come. He also successfully completed the merger of the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry with the AACC. He has served many other organizations as well, including as president of the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry. He is also active in the Association of Public Health Laboratories and is a member of the governing council of the International Society for Newborn Screening.
The following corporations generously sponsored the 2007 AACC Awards: Siemens Medical Solutions Diagnostics (AACC Lectureship Award, Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry, Morton K. Schwartz Award for Significant Contributions in Cancer Research Diagnostics, and Outstanding Contribution for a Publication in the Journal Clinical Chemistry); Beckman Coulter Inc. (Outstanding Contributions Through Service to the Profession of Clinical Chemistry); Quest Diagnostics Nichols Institute (Outstanding Contributions in Education); Olympus America Inc. Diagnostic Systems Group (Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry in a Selected Area of Research); Roche Diagnostics (Young Investigator Award); BD Diagnostics, Preanalytical Systems (International Travel Fellowship); Dade Behring Inc. (Edwin F. Ullman Award); Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics (Patient Safety); and Cardinal Health, Scientific Products Distribution (Past President’s Award).
AACC is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit professional association with a membership of more than 9,000 clinical chemists, pathologists, medical technologists, and others in related fields. Through educational services and publications, AACC works to improve and advance clinical laboratory services to enhance public health and patient care.