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Research!America to honor medical and health research advocacy leaders

October 06, 2016

ARLINGTON, Va.--October 6, 2016--Research!America's 21st annual Advocacy Awards will honor outstanding advocates for research whose contributions to health and medicine have saved lives and improved quality of life for patients worldwide. The event will take place on Wednesday, March 15, 2017, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC.

The 2017 Advocacy Award winners announced today, with additional awardees to be named in the coming weeks, are Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, recipient of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Award for Sustained National Leadership; Leland H. Hartwell, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate and co-director of the Center for Sustainable Health at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute and Virginia G. Piper Chair of Personalized Medicine, recipient of the Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award; and The Lupus Foundation of America, recipient of the Paul G. Rogers Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award. Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health, will receive the Legacy Award.

"Dr. Anthony Fauci is a dedicated public servant and brilliant scientist who fundamentally transformed HIV/AIDS research and many other disease areas, saving countless lives," said Honorable John E. Porter, Chair, Research!America. "As a gifted communicator, he is an outspoken champion for research, and we are honored to recognize his many contributions to human health with the Legacy Award."

The annual Research!America Advocacy Awards program was established by the Board of Directors in 1996 to honor outstanding advocates for medical, health and scientific research.

"The honorees announced today have devoted their leadership talents, relentless energy and expert advocacy to drive medical progress forward benefiting patients and families worldwide," said Mary Woolley, president and CEO, Research!America. "We are delighted to celebrate their efforts in advancing our nation's commitment to research and innovation."

Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., who will receive the Legacy Award, is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health. Since his appointment as NIAID director in 1984, Dr. Fauci has overseen an extensive research portfolio devoted to preventing, diagnosing, and treating infectious and immune-mediated diseases. Dr. Fauci also is chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, where he has made numerous important discoveries related to HIV/AIDS and is one of the most-cited scientists in the field. Dr. Fauci serves as one of the key advisors to the White House and Department of Health and Human Services on global AIDS issues, and on initiatives to bolster medical and public health preparedness against emerging infectious disease threats such as Ebola and pandemic influenza.

Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been selected to receive the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Award for Sustained National Leadership for his powerful advocacy efforts for cancer research, serving as Chairman of Stand up to Cancer's (SU2C) Scientific Advisory Committee since the organization's inception in 2008. His research interests have centered on the molecular biology of gene expression relevant to cancer and the mechanisms of RNA splicing. His landmark achievement was the discovery of RNA splicing in 1977. This work provided one of the first indications of the startling phenomenon of "discontinuous genes" in mammalian cells. The discovery that genes contain nonsense segments that are edited out by cells in the course of utilizing genetic information is important in understanding the genetic causes of cancer and other diseases. This discovery, which fundamentally changed scientists' understanding of the structure of genes, earned Dr. Sharp the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Leland H. Hartwell, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate and director of the Center for Sustainable Health at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute and Virginia G. Piper Chair of Personalized Medicine, is selected to receive the Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award, for his leadership and determination in building an outstanding scientific research organization as president and director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) from 1997 to 2010. His leadership further elevated FHCRC into a premier research center working to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. In 2010, Dr. Leland H. Hartwell joined the Arizona State University (ASU) where he has appointments in the Schools of Education, Biomedical Engineering, and Sustainability. He leads a team that teaches Sustainability Science for all pre-service K-8 Teachers, and aspires to provide continuing education, internationally, for in-service teachers. In addition, Dr. Hartwell leads the HoneyBee program at ASU overseeing a series of small clinical trials using wearable devices to monitor physiological parameters in clinical patients for a variety of diseases.

The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) has been selected to receive the Paul G. Rogers Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award. Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease affecting an estimated 1.5 million Americans. LFA was founded in 1977 when a group of more than two dozen independent local lupus organizations came together to provide national leadership for lupus research, patient and professional education, and public awareness. Since then, the Foundation has grown to become the nation's leading nonprofit voluntary health agency dedicated solely to lupus by providing national, state, and local programs through a nationwide network of more than chapters and support groups. LFA provides grants to researchers working on promising studies that could save and improve lives. Investigators who have received funding from LFA have made contributions towards achieving many of the most important advances in research on lupus including the development of one of the first diagnostic tests specifically for lupus and discoveries in specific risk factors and biomarkers.
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For more information about the 2017 Advocacy Awards Dinner, visit http://www.researchamerica.org/advocacy_awards.

About Research!America

Research!America is the nation's largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research!America is supported by member organizations that represent the voices of 125 million Americans. Visit http://www.researchamerica.org.

Research!America

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