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Research!America to Recognize Dr. Bruce Alberts and Other Leaders in Medical and Health Research Advocacy


October 24, 2019

Contact: Robert Shalett, 571-482-2737

Bruce M. Alberts, PhD, former president (1993-2005) of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), will be honored at Research!America’s Advocacy Awards Dinner on March 11, 2020, in Washington, D.C. An advocate of improving science education in primary and secondary schools, Dr. Alberts has spent his career promoting the creativity, openness, and tolerance that are inherent to science. During his tenure at NAS, Dr. Alberts led in the development and implementation of the National Science Education Standards. A recipient of the National Medal of Science Award and the Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science, Dr. Alberts is a past editor-in-chief of Science magazine and one of the first three United States Science Envoys. He will receive the 2020 John Edward Porter Legacy Award, generously supported by Ann Lurie, at the dinner on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Washington, D.C. as a part of Research!America’s event.

“Dr. Albert’s sustained leadership and dedication to science education show his strong commitment to advancing research and the joy of life science,” said The Honorable Michael N. Castle, chair, Research!America. “The thread that runs through Dr. Albert’s distinguished career is an encouragement of collaborative work across all science disciplines to promote learning and communication to non-scientists.”

Other 2020 Advocacy Award honorees announced today are three co-recipients of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Builders of Science Award: Myron M. Levine, MD, DTPH, associate dean for Global Health, Vaccinology & Infectious Diseases at the University of Maryland School of Medicine; Gary J. Nabel, MD, PhD, chief scientific officer and senior vice president for Global Research & Development at Sanofi; and Paul A. Offit, MD, professor of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. 

Michael M. E. Johns, MD, professor of the Schools of Medicine and Public Health at Emory University will be the recipient of the Herbert Pardes Family Award for National Leadership in Advocacy for Research; Mary Fogarty McAndrew, Chair of the John E. Fogarty Foundation for Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities will be the recipient of the Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award; and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society will be the recipient of the Paul G. Rogers Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award. Additional honorees will be named in the coming weeks. The annual Research!America Advocacy Awards program was established by Research!America’s Board of Directors in 1996 to honor outstanding advocates for medical, health and scientific research.

“We are thrilled to recognize these outstanding 2020 honorees who, through their commitment to scientific research, have contributed to scientific education and communication, scientific discovery, and advocacy for improved care and funding to accelerate research,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO, Research!America. 

Dr. Bruce Alberts, recipient of the 2020 John Edward Porter Legacy Award, generously supported by Ann Lurie, is a prominent biochemist with a strong commitment to the improvement of science and mathematics education. He is now the Chancellor’s Leadership Chair in Biochemistry and Biophysics for Science and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, to which he returned after serving two six-year terms as the president of NAS. Widely recognized for his work in the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology, Dr. Alberts has earned many honors and awards, including 16 honorary degrees. He currently serves on the advisory boards of more than 25 nonprofit institutions, including the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

During his tenure at the NAS, Dr. Alberts was instrumental in developing the landmark National Science Education Standards that have been implemented in school systems nationwide. The type of “science as inquiry” emphasizes logical, hands-on problem solving, and it insists on having evidence for claims that can be confirmed by others. It requires work in cooperative groups – developing self-confidence and an ability to communicate effectively with others. Dr. Alberts is also noted as one of the original authors of The Molecular Biology of the Cell, a preeminent textbook in the field soon to be in its sixth edition. From 2000 to 2009, he served as the co-chair of the InterAcademy Council, a new organization in Amsterdam governed by the presidents of 15 national academies of sciences and established to provide scientific advice to the world.

Dr. Myron “Mike” Levine, co-recipient of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Builders of Science Award, is the Simon and Bessie Grollman Distinguished Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSoM), the associate dean for Global Health, Vaccinology and Infectious Diseases, and founder of the Center for Vaccine Development (CVD). He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences (formally the Institute of Medicine) in 1995. Dr. Levine has worked on vaccine research since 1970 and is a pioneer of the discipline of “vaccinology”. After founding CVD in 1974, he served as director until 2015. He oriented CVD to fill the niche of developing vaccines to prevent certain infections that have enormous disease burdens in impoverished populations and developing countries but cause little burden in the U.S. and other industrialized countries. This includes research to develop vaccines against intestinal infections such as cholera, Shigella dysentery, typhoid fever, and non-typhoidal Salmonella infections. He has spent considerable time working in developing countries on the epidemiology and prevention of enteric infections. His 50-year research career has covered basic vaccine development, clinical trials (safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy), and impact following vaccine introduction. He has trained vaccine researchers globally.  

Dr. Gary Nabel, co-recipient of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Builders of Science Award, is the chief scientific officer of Sanofi where he provides oversight of Global R&D programs. An eminent virologist and immunologist, Dr. Nabel served as founding director of NIH’s Vaccine Research Center (VRC) and its leader for 14 years (1999-2012). Dr. Nabel pioneered a renaissance in vaccine development through structure-based rational vaccine design.  Under his leadership, the VRC made seminal advances in developing vaccines and broadly neutralizing antibodies not only against HIV but also universal influenza, Ebola, Chikungunya and Epstein-Barr virus. His work encompasses basic mechanisms of viral molecular biology, protein structure, and immunotherapy, defining modes of immune escape and opportunities to attack critical vulnerabilities of viruses. This work led to the discovery of the broadly neutralizing antibodies to the highly conserved CD4 binding site of HIV that are now in human efficacy trials in Africa. Through an experimental medicine program, the VRC translated scientific discovery into clinical investigation through more than 100 clinical trials, including universal influenza vaccines in the U.S. and leading to Ebola vaccines tested in Africa. Dr. Nabel’s work has also contributed to the development of countermeasures for other emerging viral infections, including Chikungunya virus, encephalitis viruses, SARS, avian influenza, and Zika virus. 

More recently, Dr. Nabel and his team have developed a novel antibody platform that can recognize three targets at once, called trispecific antibodies, now under evaluation for the treatment and prevention of HIV and cancer. Dr. Nabel has been the chief scientific officer & senior vice president at Sanofi since 2012 and previously was an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Michigan (1987-1999).

Dr. Paul Offit, co-recipient of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Builders of Science Award, was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2011. He currently serves as the director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as well as the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology and a professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2015, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2018, Dr. Offit received the Gold Medal from the Sabin Vaccine Institute. Dr. Offit has published more than 160 papers in medical and scientific journals and is the co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq, recommended for universal use in infants by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

In 2009, Dr. Offit received the President’s Certificate for Outstanding Service from the American Academy of Pediatrics. In 2013, Dr. Offit received the Maxwell Finland award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and the Distinguished Alumnus award from UMSoM. Dr. Offit was a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to the CDC and is a founding advisory board member of the Autism Science Foundation and the Foundation for Vaccine Research. 

Michael M. E. Johns, MD, recipient of the Herbert Pardes Family Award for National Leadership in Advocacy for Research, is an internationally recognized leader in academic medicine, health policy, and as a head and neck cancer surgeon. He currently serves as professor in the Schools of Medicine and Public Health at Emory University. Elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 1993, he is executive vice president for Health Affairs Emeritus at Emory University, and president, CEO, and chairman of the Board Emeritus of Emory Healthcare – positions he held at Emory from 1996 to 2007. He also served as Emory’s chancellor from 2007 to 2012. Prior to his work at Emory, he was vice president of the Medical Faculty and dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He recently served as interim executive vice president for Medical Affairs at the University of Michigan from June 2014 through February 2015. 

In addition to leading complex administrative and academic organizations to new levels of excellence and service, Dr. Johns is widely renowned as a catalyst of new thinking in many areas of health policy and health professions education. He has been a significant contributor to many of the leading organizations and policy groups in health care, including the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). He frequently lectures, publishes, and works with state and federal policy makers on topics ranging from the future of health professions education to national health system reform. Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Johns has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards. Most recently, in December 2016, he received an honorary Doctor of Science from his alma mater, the University of Michigan. In 2015, Dr. Johns received the Castle Connolly Lifetime Achievement Award, which is presented to physicians for their lifetime of dedication to research and practice in their respective specialties.

Mary Fogarty McAndrew, recipient of the Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award, is the daughter of the late Congressman John E. Fogarty of Rhode Island, also known as “Mr. Public Health”. As chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, Education and Welfare, he championed funding for public health. Since his sudden death in 1967, Mary has carried his torch in her work as an ardent advocate of better health, domestically and around the globe, supporting the efforts of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a bill which established the John E. Fogarty International Center for Advanced Study in the Health Sciences at NIH. The Center began with a budget of $500,000 in 1968 and has grown to over $75 million today. It supports over 5,000 scientists in more than 100 countries throughout the world. McAndrew chairs the John E. Fogarty Foundation for Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. 

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, recipient of the Paul G. Rogers Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award, was founded in 1946 and funds cutting-edge research, drives change through advocacy, and provides programs and services to help people affected by Multiple Sclerosis (MS) live their best lives. The Society supports research and treatment to stop disease progression, restore function, and end MS forever. Nearly one million people in the United States — more than twice the previously reported number — are living with MS, according to a landmark study. Through its advocacy work, the Society creates opportunities for people affected by MS to raise their voices, let policy makers know what they need and drive change at the federal, state and local levels to improve lives. 

The 24th Research!America Advocacy Awards, to be held at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. on March 11, 2020, brings together leaders from government, industry, academia, patient groups, scientific societies, independent research institutes, and health advocacy organizations to honor exceptional advocates for research. For more information about the 2020 Advocacy Awards Dinner, visit www.researchamerica.org/advocacy_awards


About Research!America

The Research!America alliance advocates for science, discovery, and innovation to achieve better health for all. Visit www.researchamerica.org.