Alfred Taubman awards $100,000 Taubman Prize at annual symposium
A record turnout of nearly 300 scientists and community members gathered in Ann Arbor on Oct. 11 for “Unlocking the Mysteries of Genetic Diseases,” the Fifth Annual Symposium of the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute.
The yearly event showcases the latest developments in medical research, including that performed by institute-funded Taubman Scholars and their colleagues.
Mr. Alfred Taubman received a standing ovation as he presented the first-ever $100,000 Taubman Prize for Translational Medical Science to Dr. Harry Dietz of Johns Hopkins University.
“We created the Taubman Prize to honor scientists who are not only conducting great research but turning that research into new treatments for patients, “ said Mr. Taubman.
Dr. Dietz, a renowned geneticist and pediatric cardiologist, delivered a keynote address explaining his research into possible treatments for Marfan syndrome, a disease that can lead to often-fatal aortic aneurysm. Dr. Dietz’s groundbreaking discovery that such connective-tissue disorders may be treatable using common medications has led to a wide-spread human clinical trial and has changed the way medical science approaches Marfan syndrome and other diseases.
His work epitomizes the sort of lab-to-patient scientific discovery the institute aims to support and reward, said Taubman Institute Director Dr. Eva Feldman. “I’ve been to many, many scientific talks in the past couple of decades, and your presentation is by far the most impressive ever,” she told Dr. Dietz. Following the symposium, Dr. Dietz and his spouse Dr. Ada Hamosh, also a genetics expert, met with a group of Taubman Emerging Scholars and other early-career U-M researchers.
Additional symposium speakers included Dr. Elizabeth Speliotes, a specialist in fatty-liver disease, and Dr. Santhi Ganesh, who is researching the cause of arterial dysplasia, a disease affecting blood vessels. A video address by Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health and a former U-M faculty member, praised Alfred Taubman’s multi-faceted philanthropy at the university and beyond, noting that among the state of Michigan’s points of pride range from “the Model T to Alfred T.”
Before the symposium kicked off at 10 a.m., dozens of faculty members and students mingled at a poster session featuring the work of U-M scientists. Three researchers were awarded cash prizes following judging by Taubman Scholars.
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