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ASRM Announces Awards

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE’S
2017 SCIENTIFIC CONGRESS & EXPO

               

Note: Press room open Sun. October 29, 2pm-5pm CDT; Mon. October 30-Wed. November 1, 8:00am-5:30pm CDT. 210-582-7029.

  • Distinguished Researcher Award goes to David K. Gardner, PhD, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Ira and Ester Rosenwaks New Investigator Award goes to Helen G. Tempest, PhD, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Florida International University
  • Suheil J. Muasher, MD, Distinguished Service Award goes to Barry S. Verkauf, M.D., M.B.A. of Tampa, FL
  • Kavoussi Family Outstanding Teacher Award goes to Marc Goldstein, M.D, Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University
  • KY Cha Award in Stem Cell Technology goes to Philip Jordan, PhD, Johns Hopkins University
  • Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award goes to Gilbert L. Mottla, M.D., Shady Grove Fertility, MD

San Antonio, TX – The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) today announced the winners of the highest individual awards of the Society.

The Distinguished Researcher Award is given to a scientist with a long record of important scientific achievement in the field of reproductive medicine. The 2017 recipient is David K. Gardner, PhD, of the University of Melbourne, Australia. Dr. Gardner received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of York, U.K. His early career was associated with developing the means of assessing the physiology of the preimplantation embryo. This included the development and use of novel fluorometric technologies capable of measuring the nutrient utilization of individual embryos. Using this approach, he was not only able to non-invasively monitor the nutrient uptake by individual embryos through their development, but determine how embryos interacted with their immediate environment in vitro. He identified several sources of metabolic stress, and was the first to show that induction of aberrant metabolic processes during the preimplantation period had downstream consequences for subsequent fetal and placental development. Studies on the nutrient gradient in the human female reproductive tract paved the way for media based on the composition of the human oviduct and uterus.  These media were the world’s first physiologically-based for the development of human embryos. A further major breakthrough in the development of improved embryo culture systems came through his laboratory’s pioneering work on the role of amino acids in regulating embryo development and viability. His analysis of embryo metabolism in vitro, determined that there are major changes in energy metabolism throughout development; loss of ability to regulate metabolism culminates in a reduction in embryo developmental potential. His group was the first to detect the appearance of ubiquitin and several other embryo-specific proteins in the culture medium. Gene expression, the embryonic proteome, the metabolism of the embryo and its subsequent viability are all affected by oxygen concentration. As a result, many IVF laboratories are utilizing reduced oxygen for embryo culture. He has authored five of the 100 most cited papers in the reproductive medicine and biology, ranking him as #3 in the world for impact in this field. In total, he has published over 175 peer-reviewed papers, and 58 book chapters, as well as being an editor of 15 books. He is one of the most highly cited scientists in reproductive medicine.  His research on embryonic biomarkers is facilitating the identification of the best embryos for transfer and for cryopreservation. His research has been translated into current human IVF procedures used around the world and his work on the analysis of embryo viability holds great promise for the future. In recognition of his scientific achievement, he was named a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences in May 2017. 

Helen G. Tempest, PhD, has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the Ira and Ester Rosenwaks New Investigator Award. This award recognizes a member of ASRM who has made outstanding contributions to clinical or basic research in reproductive sciences published within 10 years after completing research or clinical training and initiating an independent career as an investigator. Dr. Tempest is an Associate Professor at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Florida International University (FIU).  She obtained her BSc. and PhD from Brunel University, London, UK. Dr. Tempest has developed an active and independent research program with a primary focus in reproductive biology that has applications in multiple related fields including cytogenetics, DNA damage and repair, aging, and cancer.  Her research has furthered understanding of the incidence of chromosome aneuploidy in males and identified individuals at risk of clinically relevant levels of chromosome aneuploidy who may benefit from additional screening, thus facilitating couples to make more informed reproductive decisions. Her group was the first to provide evidence of a reproducible pattern of chromatin organization between individuals for different genomic loci (chromosomes, genes, telomeres, and centromeres) in spermatozoa and lymphocytes. This evidence demonstrated that distinct patterns of genome organization may be utilized as novel diagnostic and prognostic tools as perturbations are uncovered within this organization and its association with disease. This demonstrated that reorganization of chromosomes occurs following induction of DNA damage. Dr. Tempest has published over 35 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters. Her lab continues to study genome organization to evaluate its role in DNA damage recognition and repair in a variety of cell types and cellular processes such as senescence and cancer.

The Society recognizes the contributions made to the fields of reproductive medicine by Barry S. Verkauf, MD, MBA and awards him the 2017 Suheil J. Muasher, MD, Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Verkauf received his undergraduate degree from Emory University, his medical degree and internship from Tulane University, and completed his residency and fellowship at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He served in the Medical Corp from 1972-1974.   He was a founding member of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology and instrumental in the establishment of the Society of Reproductive Surgeons and the Society of Reproductive Endocrinologists groups within ASRM.  He was the leader of the then American Fertility Society (AFS) Technical Exhibit Committee from 1981 – 1983 and served on the Society Development Committee from 1981-1984.  He also worked with the AFS Subcommittee on Fertility Listings during its develop in 1987 and helped to organize and enhance the annual exhibits showcased from 1987-1994.  He further served ASRM as the State Legislative Monitor from 1988 - 1996 and Public Relations Committee member from 1995 – 2000.  He also spent 10 years on the CPT Coding/RBVS Committee from 1999 – 2009.  He served on these committees because of his commitment to our specialty and his dedication to ASRM.  His years of service are truly remarkable. For the past 16 years, Dr. Verkauf also served as the ASRM delegate to the American Medical Association. His leadership in that role paved the way for a resolution that was put forth and accepted that infertility be recognized as a disease. 

Marc Goldstein, MD, Professor of Reproductive Medicine, and Urology at Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University and Surgeon-in-Chief, Male Reproductive Medicine and Surgery, and Director of the Center for Male Reproductive Medicine and Microsurgery at the New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medical Center is the recipient of the 2017 Kavoussi Family Outstanding Teacher Award. This award honors an ASRM member who is recognized as an outstanding educator in undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate, professional or patient education in the area of basic and/or clinical reproductive biology and medicine.  Dr. Goldstein received his medical degree from SUNY Downstate, followed by his internship and residency in surgery at Columbia-Presbyterian in New York. His medical career began as a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force, followed by residency training in Urology at SUNY Downstate, and a research fellowship at the Population Council at Rockefeller University. He is one of the founding fathers of male microsurgery and over the years has seminal contributions to this field as well as numerous refinements of surgical techniques. He has devoted his career to education of medical students, residents, fellows as well as visiting surgeons and has one of the oldest male reproductive medicine and surgery fellowships in the country.  He has trained innumerable male reproductive urologists through the fellowship. Dr. Goldstein’s accomplishment in education crosses national and institutional boundaries. During his early academic carrier, he acquired the then innovative “No-Scalpel Vasectomy” technique from China and introduced it through various conferences and hands-on training programs to several generations of urology residents and a vast number of practicing urologists. This technique is now considered the gold standard approach of vasectomy. For over twenty-five years, Dr. Goldstein has authored the key chapter in reproductive surgery in Campbell’s Urology, which is arguably the most influential text book in Urology. His pedagogy on microsurgery teaching is the bedrock upon which the academic and clinical careers of countless reproductive urologists are built. Many of his 300+ publications include the participation of residents and fellows. His endeavors in teaching have earned him numerous awards and recognitions. Most recently in October 2016, he received the Distinguished Reproductive Surgeon Award from the Society of Reproductive Surgeons. This award exemplifies Dr. Goldstein’s passion, intellect and insight, which have been beacons for fellows who are fortunate enough to have him as mentor and role model.

The recipient of the KY Cha Award in Stem Cell Technology for 2017 is Philip Jordan, PhD, an assistant professor in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. The subject of his Award research is “The development of cell-based diagnostic assays of male infertility”. In 2010, Dr. Jordan obtained a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Award and joined The Jackson Laboratory where he was the recipient of the NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award. He transitioned to the R00 phase of his Pathway to Independence Award when he joined his current position. He has since received an R01 research grant from NIGMS, NIH in 2016, to study the role of Polo-like kinases (PLKs) during mammalian meiosis. He also recently received an R21 to develop stem cell and animal model based systems for direct, efficient, titratable and reversible degradation of target proteins. Dr. Jordan’s research laboratory is devoted to achieving three main objectives: a) development of effective assays for the diagnostics of male infertility in vitro; b) generation of spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) and haploid germ cells that in the future could be used for regenerative medicine, and in ART; c) establishment of disease modeling and drug testing protocols that enable clinicians to better understand and treat infertility.

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award is awarded to an ASRM member who as a practicing physician best demonstrated the ideals of compassionate and respectful care for a patient’s physical and emotional well-being. The Society has selected Gilbert L. Mottla, MD, for this award in 2017 because of his tireless efforts to support our nation’s wounded veterans. Dr. Mottla received his medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine, where he won the Dr. David Rothbaum award for superior academic achievement in obstetrics and gynecology and compassion and understanding toward patients. He completed his internship and residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Magee-Womens Hospital, University of Pittsburgh and his fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at The George Washington University School of Medicine. He practices medicine at Shady Grove Fertility and is currently a clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Georgetown University. Dr. Mottla has been an influential advocate for improving infertility policy by testifying in front of both state and national legislators. Most importantly, his passionate support of our nation’s injured veterans was demonstrated by his years of advocating on their behalf for access to IVF care. As a result of his work, Congress recently passed a law authorizing IVF for veterans with a service-connected disability that resulted in their inability to procreate without the use of fertility treatment. Dr. Mottla’s unselfish service is commendable to not only his patients, but to those who lost reproductive function while serving our country.

 

ASRM is a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to the advancement of the science and practice of reproductive medicine. The Society accomplishes its mission through the pursuit of excellence in education and research and through advocacy on behalf of patients, physicians, and affiliated health care providers. The Society is committed to facilitating and sponsoring educational activities for the lay public and continuing medical education activities for professionals who are engaged in the practice of and research in reproductive medicine. www.asrm.org 


Contact:

Eleanor Nicoll
Ph: 202-863-2349 or 240-274-2209 (mobile)
Email: enicoll@asrm.org

Sean Tipton
Ph: 202-863-2494
Email: stipton@asrm.org

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