Source Newsroom: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
The Ernst W. Bertner Memorial Award Recognizes Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College for her Distinguished Contributions to Cancer Research
Newswise — NEW YORK (Sept. 21, 2012) -- Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, dean of Weill Cornell Medical College and provost for medical affairs of Cornell University, is the winner of the 2012 Ernst W. Bertner Memorial Award from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for her distinguished contributions to cancer research.
The Ernst W. Bertner Memorial Award is the oldest award conferred by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and was established in 1950 in honor of Ernst William Bertner, MD, who was the first acting director of MD Anderson Cancer Center and the first president of the Texas Medical Center. The award is made possible by funds from the former Bertner Foundation and MD Anderson Cancer Center.
The award was presented to Dr. Glimcher at the annual MD Anderson Cancer Center's Symposia on Cancer Research 2012 on September 21. The focus of this year's meeting is immunology and inflammation in cancer. As a leading immunologist, Dr. Glimcher's research discoveries have helped improve understanding of the human immune system and how to manipulate it to better fight cancer. Dr. Glimcher presented the Ernst W. Bertner Memorial Award Lecture and Presentation entitled "The Stress Sensor XBP1 in Cancer" at the Symposia on Cancer Research.
"I am honored to receive this prestigious cancer research award from the MD Anderson Cancer Center," says Dr. Glimcher, who is also a professor of medicine at Weill Cornell. "My field of cytokine and inflammation research holds much promise for better understanding immune responses underlying malignant diseases. I am so proud to be a part of the discoveries in cancer immunology over the last few decades that have played a pivotal role in our progress against devastating cancers, and toward discovery of innovative cancer therapies to halt this disease in its tracks."
Dr. Glimcher has made significant contributions to cytokine research, particularly as it relates to inflammatory diseases of the immune system and cancer immunology. Cytokines are protein molecules secreted by the nervous system and immune system that are used for intercellular communication.
Her primary research specialty is cytokine-specific lymphocyte subtypes. Dr. Glimcher's research has investigated the genetic bases of cytokine expression in T helper lymphocytes. Her research interests are the biochemical and genetic approaches that elucidate the molecular pathways that regulate cell development and activation of lymphocyte subtypes such as CD4 T helper. The complex regulatory pathways governing T helper cell responses are critical for both the development of protective immunity and for the pathophysiologic immune responses underlying cancers. In 1996, she discovered that development of T cells, which are important in allergy and asthma, is regulated by the transcription factor c-maf, a proto-oncogene.
Dr. Glimcher's research laboratory has studied the transcriptional pathways that control important immune system checkpoints, leading to many discoveries, including the T-bet and XBP-1 transcription factors, which regulate a variety of adaptive and innate immune functions, as well as the endoplasmic reticulum stress response. In a landmark paper published in the journal Cell, her laboratory identified T-bet as the master regulator of T lymphocyte helper cells that are vital for fighting off pathogens and cancer. This paper has gone on to be cited over 1,100 times in the literature and has revolutionized the understanding of immunological lineage commitment. Also, in a groundbreaking paper published in Nature, her laboratory identified XBP-1 as the first transcription factor known to be required for the generation of antibody-secreting plasma cells from B lymphocytes. She has shown that endoplasmic reticulum stress controlled by XBP-1 is important in inflammatory diseases and in the immune system. Most recently, her laboratory has identified new proteins that control osteoblast (bone formation) and osteoclast (bone loss) commitment and activation in skeletal biology with significant implications for diseases of bone, including cancer metastasis to bone.
Dr. Glimcher is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the National Academy of Sciences USA, and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. She is also a member and past president of the American Association of Immunologists, which awarded her the Huang Meritorious Career Award in 2006 and the Excellence in Mentoring Award in 2008. She was elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation, from which she received the Outstanding Investigator Award in 2001, the American Association of Physicians and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Glimcher previously directed the Division of Biological Sciences program at the Harvard School of Public Health and was a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, where she headed one of the top immunology programs in the world. She also served as senior physician and rheumatologist at the Brigham and Woman's Hospital.
In addition to The Ernst W. Bertner Memorial Award, her numerous awards include the American Association of University Women Senior Scholar Award (2006); American College of Rheumatology Distinguished Investigator Award (2006); Dean's Award for Leadership in the Advancement of Women Faculty at Harvard Medical School (2006); the Klemperer Award from the New York Academy of Medicine (2003); the American Society of Clinical Investigation Outstanding Investigator Award (2001); and the FASEB Excellence in Science Award (2000).
Weill Cornell Medical College
Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University's medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research from bench to bedside, aimed at unlocking mysteries of the human body in health and sickness and toward developing new treatments and prevention strategies. In its commitment to global health and education, Weill Cornell has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical College is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances -- including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, and most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. Weill Cornell Medical College is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where its faculty provides comprehensive patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The Medical College is also affiliated with the Methodist Hospital in Houston. For more information, visit weill.cornell.edu.