Newswise — Falls Church, Virginia. Sept. 21 2012 – The American Thyroid Association (ATA) today honored Antonio Di Cristofano, PhD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York, with the 2012 Van Meter Award at the 82nd ATA Annual Meeting. The Van Meter Award recognizes outstanding contributions by a young researcher to research on the thyroid gland or related subjects. An honorarium and expenses were granted to Dr. Di Cristofano, with support provided by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Publishers.

Upon acceptance of the award, Dr. Di Cristofano delivered the 2012 Van Meter Lecture, “Modeling thyroid transformation in the mouse: lessons and perspectives.” Dr. Di Cristofano discussed recent results from his laboratory elucidating a novel role of the PI3K pathway in subverting the thyroid metabolic landscape before neoplastic transformation occurs, and the translational opportunities offered by the first genetically engineered mouse model of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma.

“Dr. Cristofano is one of the leading experts on the pathophysiology of thyroid cancer. He has provided important insights into the role of the phosphoinositol 3-kinase pathway in the pathogenesis of the disease, which is likely to have important clinical ramifications” said ATA President James A. Fagin, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. “It is a privilege to present him with such a prestigious and well-deserved honor.”

Dr. Di Cristofano is an Associate Professor in the Department of Developmental and Molecular Biology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He received a PhD in Molecular Genetics in 1996 from University of Naples Federico II in Italy. He was a postdoctoral research fellow and then a Research Associate at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. After completing his training, he established his own independent lab at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia in 2001, and in 2008 he moved his lab to Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.Dr. Di Cristofano is currently one of the leading experts on the pathophysiology of thyroid cancer, with his research efforts rightfully recognized and acknowledged throughout the endocrine research community. His independent work has been widely published in the most distinguished scientific journals, including several first author publication, as well as several book chapters and review articles. He has earned several NIH R01 grants, pointing to a very high likelihood of continued and long-term impact.

Dr. Di Cristofano has provided new insights into understanding the regulation and control of normal growth and malignant transformation of thyroctyes and the mouse models that he has generated have facilitated the identification of novel potential targets for the treatment and prevention of advanced and anaplastic thyroid tumors. Dr. Di Cristofano was the first to develop Pten null mice and determine the role of Pten in tumor formation in a variety of tissues, including the endometrium, prostate, and thyroid. Using these models, he has since demonstrated important interactions between PI3K signaling and estrogen receptors, Ras signaling, p53, and, more recently, mitotic kinases and metabolic pathways.

He has also shown in vivo that TSH is essential for PI3K activity, and can cooperate with Pten loss in inducing more aggressive tumors. In addition, for the first time, he elucidated that estrogen increases the proliferation of thyroid cells by reducing the levels of p27. He also demonstrated that PI3K activation requires simultaneous alternation of additional pathways for full neoplastic transformation, including Kras activation and p53 loss.

Dr. Antonio Di Cristofano has been an Active Member of the ATA since 2008.

About the ATA Annual Meeting 
The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association will be 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 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; and the development of guidelines for clinical management of thyroid disease. Visit for more information.

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