Public Release:  ASH honors Grover Bagby Jr., M.D., and John DiPersio, M.D., Ph.D., for outstanding mentorship

American Society of Hematology

(WASHINGTON July 22, 2014) - The American Society of Hematology (ASH) will honor Grover C. Bagby Jr., MD, and John F. DiPersio, MD, PhD, with 2014 Mentor Awards at the 56th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Francisco for their sustained, outstanding commitment to the training and career development of early-career hematologists.

The ASH Mentor Award was established in 2006 to recognize hematologists who have excelled in mentoring trainees and colleagues. Each year the Society recognizes two distinguished mentors from the areas of basic science, clinical investigation, education, or clinical/community care who have had a significant, positive impact on their mentees' careers and, through their mentees, have advanced research and patient care in the field of hematology.

Dr. Bagby, Professor of Medicine and Molecular and Medical Genetics at Oregon Health & Science University, founding director of OHSU's Knight Cancer Institute and former Chief of Hematology and Medical Oncology at OHSU and the Portland Veterans Administration Medical Center, will be presented with a 2014 ASH Mentor Award for his steadfast mentorship of more than 40 former trainees and faculty members in the United States and abroad. Dr. Bagby's mentees cite his selfless leadership and caring dedication to the development of scientific expertise and tradition as critical elements of his success in influencing the lives of his trainees, who now serve as successful clinicians, researchers, policy makers, and administrators.

During his more than 46-year career, Dr. Bagby's research has focused on the pre-leukemic syndrome Fanconi anemia, the role of inflammatory cytokines in marrow failure, AIDS-related hematopoietic dysfunction, and mechanisms of leukemogenesis. He is revered as a true physician-scientist who championed the practice of thinking about basic research in translational terms long before "translational research" became part of the scientific vernacular.

As a longtime member of ASH, Dr. Bagby has served in various roles for the Society over a period of more than 30 years, including as member and chair of several scientific and standing committees and Associate Editor of Blood. He is an elected member of the American Association of Physicians and American Society of Clinical Investigation, is past President of the International Society for Experimental Hematology, is a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and is a Master of the American College of Physicians.

Dr. DiPersio, Chief of the Division of Oncology and Deputy Director of the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine, will be presented with a 2014 ASH Mentor Award for his unwavering service as a role model and mentor that has helped shape the careers of more than two dozen mentees who hold prestigious academic positions throughout the world. By blending his enthusiasm, knowledge, and expertise in hematology/oncology with compassion for patients and mentees, Dr. DiPersio, who also serves as Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Pathology/Immunology at Washington University, has solidified his position as a professional example that others follow when confronted with a challenging case or issue. He played a leading role in the recent pioneering work on the genomics of acute myeloid leukemia and development of new therapeutic strategies targeting the leukemia cell-stromal interaction, while his research guidance, career advice, and support continue to benefit his mentees and promise to help shape future generations of hematologists.

Dr. DiPersio has spent his nearly 35-year career engaged in cutting-edge molecular research related to hematologic malignancies and stem cell transplantation, covering the gamut from production of vectors for gene therapy and development of transgenic murine models to employing next-generation sequencing methods to unravel the genetic basis of hematologic neoplasms.

Dr. DiPersio's ASH involvement includes membership on several standing and scientific committees as well as service on the study section for ASH's Scholar Award and as faculty for ASH's Clinical Research Training Institute. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the 2014 American Association of Cancer Research Joseph H. Burchenal Memorial Award/Lecture for Outstanding Achievements in Clinical Cancer Research. Dr. DiPersio is also an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, prior Chair of the ASH Basic Science Committee on Hematopoiesis, and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplant. He is also a fellow of the American College of Physicians and is currently serving as a member of the National Cancer Institute's Board of Scientific Counselors.

"The Society views the mentorship of young physicians and scientists in hematology not only as critical to their personal career successes, but as an essential component to advance the research breakthroughs and therapies that improve the care of patients with blood disorders," said ASH President Linda J. Burns, MD, of the University of Minnesota. "ASH is pleased to honor Drs. Bagby and DiPersio for their dedication to patient care, teaching, and research that will live on through their legions of talented mentees throughout the United States and the world."

Drs. Bagby and DiPersio will receive their awards at the Announcement of Awards session at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 9, at the 56th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Francisco.

###

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) is the world's largest professional society of hematologists dedicated to furthering the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting the blood. For more than 50 years, the Society has led the development of hematology as a discipline by promoting research, patient care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology. The official journal of ASH is Blood, the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available weekly in print and online.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.