The prestigious award, bestowed every four years, honors the top international researcher in kidney-stone disease, as chosen by his or her peers.
Dr. Pak, who came to UT Southwestern in 1972, has been at the forefront of research and development of treatment methodologies for both kidney stones and osteoporosis. He and his research team in UT Southwestern's mineral metabolism group have carefully studied more than 3,000 kidney stone patients and another 3,500 individuals with osteoporosis during the past three decades. Their findings have culminated in the development of several drugs used worldwide - including Citracal for the prevention of osteoporosis and Urocit-K for the control of kidney stones - as well as widely recognized diagnostic methods for measuring the risk factors for kidney stones.
"I've known and worked with Dr. Pak for more than 25 years in numerous roles and continue to follow his recommendations and principles, based on his research and management techniques for kidney disease," said Dr. Martin Resnick, chairman of urology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and president of the American Urological Association.
"Translational research is a term used today to describe medical breakthroughs that come out of a lab and are transferred to the bedside. Dr. Pak's research epitomizes this term," Dr. Resnick said. "He has identified key problems related to kidney-stone disease and developed treatment programs and patient evaluation methodologies that are used on a day-to-day basis worldwide."
Dr. Kern Wildenthal, president of UT Southwestern, praised Dr. Pak's selection. "During the past three decades, Dr. Pak has created an outstanding program at UT Southwestern, producing numerous advances in patient care," he said. "He also has built a dedicated team of researchers and clinicians who will carry on his work for years to come. We are proud of Dr. Pak and his important contributions to the science of mineral metabolism."
Dr. Pak, who holds the Alfred L. and Muriel B. Rabiner Distinguished Academic Chair for Mineral Metabolism Biotechnology Research, recently stepped down as director of the Charles & Jane Pak Center for Mineral Metabolism and Clinical Research - named last year in his and his wife's honor - to work part-time and devote his attention to several research projects he hopes to complete in the next several years. He previously had served as head of UT Southwestern's Robert T. Hayes Center for Mineral Metabolism Research and the Adelyn and Edmund M. Hoffman Endowment for Excellence in Osteoporosis Research.
"It is a great honor to receive this award, particularly because it is international in character and is from my contemporaries in the field," said Dr. Pak, who traveled to Hong Kong to accept it. "It also helps to bring closure to my career in a very nice way."
Dr. Pak said he is most proud that his accomplishments have positively affected patients' medical outcomes. "I am pleased to be able to say that I have played a part in formulating ideas, conducting research and then obtaining results that had direct impact on improving management of patients."
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