Newswise — Falls Church, Virginia. Sept. 19, 2012 – The American Thyroid Association (ATA) today announced it will honor Sandra McLachlan, PhD, of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, with the 2012 John B. Stanbury Pathophysiology Medal on Sept. 21 at the 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association in Québec City, Québec, Canada. The John B. Stanbury Pathophysiology Medal Association recognizes the outstanding research contributions of one of its members to a greater understanding of thyroid physiology or pathophysiology and its impact on clinical practice related to thyroid disease. A medal, funded by Dr. Stanbury, will be conferred to Dr. McLachlan at the meeting’s annual banquet.
“Dr. McLachlan has made an indelible mark on the field of thyroidology through her extensive contributions to our understanding of the molecular and cellular basis of thyroid autoimmunity,” said ATA President James A. Fagin, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Dr. McLachlan is Professor of Medicine and Co-Director of the Thyroid Autoimmunity Laboratory at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She has been investigating the molecular and cellular basis of thyroid autoimmunity for 35 years. She is internationally recognized as a leader in this field and has published over 220 peer-reviewed papers.
Dr. McLachlan’s early work includes landmark research into the interactions between T and B lymphocytes from patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Graves’ disease for their thyroid autoantibody production. Dr. McLachlan was the first to demonstrate the in vitro production of autoantoantibodies to thyroglobulin (Tg), thyroid peroxidase (TPO) and the TSHR by patients’ lymphocytes. She also established the thyroid gland as the major site of thyroid autoantibody production, providing the basis for using thyroid tissue from patients with autoimmune thyroid disease in her subsequent cloning of human autoantibodies to TPO and Tg. Additionally, she provided evidence that TPO and Tg share a T cell epitope, recently confirmed for MHC class I.
Her laboratory has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the past 18 years. Chief among her most recent achievements is cloning the entire repertoire of human TPO autoantibodies, an accomplishment not achieved in any other human autoimmune disease. Subsequently, a similar approach was used to clone a large panel of human autoantibodies to Tg. This resulted in the first analysis of heavy and light chain immunoglobulin genes that encode autoantibodies to TPO and Tg, the determination of the three dimensional structure of a TPO autoantibody, and inheritance of the TPO autoantibody epitopic “fingerprint” in families.
She has also made great strides in investigating disease pathogenesis and antigen specific immunotherapy using animal models of induced Graves’ and Hashimoto’s diseases. Her work includes studies demonstrating that human TSHR antibodies preferentially recognize the TSHR A-subunit rather than the full length receptor, studies determining the immunodominant epitopes recognized by T cells and linear antibody B cell epitopes in several mouse strains immunized with the TSHR, and genetic investigations of susceptibility and resistance to induced Graves’ disease in a variety of mouse strains (including HLA-DR3 humanized mice). These genetic studies in recombinant inbred mice of thyroid stimulating antibodies specific for the murine-versus the human-TSHR have provided important insights into the basis for susceptibility and resistance to induced Graves’ disease.
Dr. McLachlan is a past recipient of the ATA’s Sidney H. Ingbar Distinguished Lectureship Award. She is member of the Editorial Board of Thyroid and has served on ATA Board of Directors and as Chairperson of the ATA Awards Committee.
About the ATA Annual Meeting The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association is held Sept. 19-23, in Québec City, Québec, Canada. This four day creative and innovative scientific program, chaired by Elizabeth Pearce, MD, Boston Medical Center, and Douglas Forrest, PhD, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, carefully balances clinical and basic science sessions on the latest advances in thyroidology. The ATA meeting is designed to offer continuing education for endocrinologists, internists, surgeons, basic scientists, nuclear medicine scientists, pathologists, endocrine fellows and nurses, physician assistants and other health care professionals. Visit www.thyroid.org for more information.
About the ATA The American Thyroid Association (ATA) is the leading worldwide organization dedicated to the advancement, understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disorders and thyroid cancer. ATA is an international individual membership organization with over 1,600 members from 43 countries around the world. Celebrating its 89th anniversary, ATA delivers its mission through several key endeavors: the publication of highly regarded monthly journals, THYROID, Clinical Thyroidology and Clinical Thyroidology for Patients; annual scientific meetings; biennial clinical and research symposia; research grant programs for young investigators, support of online professional, public and patient educational programs through www.thyroid.org; and the development of guidelines for clinical management of thyroid disease. Visit www.thyroid.org for more information.
# # #