ASRM Announces 2016 Awards

  • Distinguished Researcher Award goes to Carlos Simon Valles, MD, PhD 
  • Ira and Ester Rosenwaks New Investigator Award goes to Marla E. Lujan, PhD, Cornell University 
  • Suheil J. Muasher, MD, Distinguished Service Award goes to G. David Adamson, MD 
  • Kavoussi Family Outstanding Teacher Award goes to James Segars, MD, Johns Hopkins University 
  • KY Cha Award in Stem Cell Technology goes to Yossi Buganim, PhD, of the Hebrew University Medical School, Jerusalem 
  • Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award goes to Selwyn Oskowitz, MD 
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 2016 recipient is Carlos Simon Valles, MD, PhD whose work has focused on three main areas: embryonic implantation, endometrial receptivity and stem cells in reproductive medicine. He has authored landmark papers in each and his studies have been recognized nationally and internationally. In embryonic implantation he made a breakthrough regarding mechanisms underlying the interleukin-1 system during the adhesive phase of embryonic implantation, as well as the cross-communication between maternal endometrium and the embryo. He pioneered the first embryonic stem cell lines in Spain and participated in a study showing the lack of genetic diversity in the most commonly used cell lines. His lab demonstrated the existence of the functional proof of concept of human endometrial stem cells that promise to restore endometrium in women with thin endometrium. Recently, he reported the generation of artificial gametes using direct reprogramming in human somatic cells which may be useful to patients with gonadal compromise. He has published more than 400 peer reviewed papers and is a visionary in the field. He has been funded as a principal investigator through 34 competitive grants from NIH, the European Union, the Spanish Government and the Valencian Government.

Marla E. Lujan, PhD, has been selected as the 2016 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. Lujan received her Bachelor of Science degree from Queen’s University and a PhD in Physiology. She conducted her post-doctoral studies within the Reproductive Endocrinology division at the University of Saskatchewan and is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University. Her research is in maternal and child nutrition and obesity and chronic disease, with a focus on the nutritional and metabolic regulation of ovulation in women. Her approach to study female reproductive function pairs ultrasound imaging with serial endocrine and metabolic assessments with the goal of improving diagnosis and treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome.

The Society recognizes the contributions made to the fields of reproductive medicine by G. David Adamson, MD, and awards him the 2016 Suheil J. Muasher, MD, Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Adamson is particularly being honored for his service as ASRM’s ambassador to the international community, though he has a longstanding, committed career in the infertility field. He has been an outstanding member of the ASRM, having attended every meeting since 1977. He served as ASRM President, 2005-2006 and is a previous SART Board Member. Formerly, he served in a number of leadership roles within ASRM, including Co-Chair of ASRM’s Fund Development Committee, Chair of ASRM’s Mental Health Professional Group, Chair of the Finance Committee, and a member of the Ethics Committee. He has held leadership roles with the World Health Organization, the International Committee Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies and the International Federation of Fertility Societies. Dr. Adamson also served as President of the World Endometriosis Research Foundation, the American Association of Gynecological Laparoscopists, the Society of Reproductive Surgeons and the Pacific Coast Reproductive Society. He recently received the prestigious RESOLVE Eck Founders Award for his service to RESOLVE and the patient community. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Toronto and has published 140 article in peer-review journals.

James H. Segars, MD, the Howard W. and Georgeanna Seegar Jones Professor in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins University is the recipient of the 2016 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. Formerly, Professor Segars was the head of the unit of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at NIH. He served as the Fellowship Program Director for the NICHD-sponsored Clinical Reproductive Endocrinology Training Program for nineteen years where he trained 47 fellows in REI. He established a research rotation program for residents across the U.S. and has served as a mentor for more than 40 residents. Dr. Segars has strongly supported implementation of the ASRM embryo transfer simulator into training curriculum and of online training modules. He served as President of the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Dr. Segars is the epitome of the physician-scientist and is wholly dedicated to training the next generation of physician-scientists.

The recipient of the KY Cha Award in Stem Cell Technology for 2016 is Yossi Buganim, PhD, Principal Investigator in the Department of Developmental Biology and Cancer Research at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem. The subject of his award research is “Development of a functional in vivo assay for assessing the capability of induced trophoblast stem cells to rescue placental dysfunction diseases.” He and his team identified in the mouse model three genes that when introduced into skin cells, initiated a cell-fate program that converted the cells into functional placenta generating cells. He hopes the application can be used to someday allow women who suffer from recurrent miscarriage and placenta dysfunction diseases and give them the opportunity to carry and deliver a healthy baby. This is a $20,000 grant awarded competitively by ASRM to provide start-up funds to initiate an innovative research project in regenerative medicine and stem cell technology.

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 Selwyn Oskowitz, MD for this award in 2016 because he is beloved by his countless patients and admired by his colleagues. Dr. Oskowitz has delivered compassion and empathetic care to all of his patients and encouraged others to value the same aspects of patient well-being. He continues to promote respect, honor and dedication in providing the best in fertility care.

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