Dr. E. Richard Stiehm, professor of pediatrics in the division of allergy, immunology and rheumatology at Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA, was presented with the 2007 Abbott Laboratories Award in Clinical and Diagnostic Immunology at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) in Toronto on May 22.
The ASM's Scientific Achievement Awards are given annually in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in fundamental and developmental immunologic research relevant to the care of patients with immunologic disorders. The Abbot Laboratories award honors Stiehm for his more than three decades of work as a preeminent leader in the field of pediatric immunology.
Stiehm's impact has been wide in the diagnostic immunology laboratory and in the research and treatment of primary and secondary immune deficiency disorders in infants and children.
His extensive research has included the description of neonatal immune defects, bone marrow and cord-blood transplants in cellular immunodeficiencies, and the uses of immune globulin in the prevention and treatment of infections. Stiehm's most important contributions to understanding the functioning of the immune system and human disease include the identification of white blood cell phagocyte defects in premature infants, the demonstration of profound T-cell defects in children with the malnutrition conditions known as kwashiorkor and marasmus, and transmission of HIV infection through breast milk.
In the early days following the initial discovery of AIDS, Stiehm was a leader in the recognition of AIDS in children and in efforts to prevent the transmission of HIV from infected mothers to fetuses. He also played an instrumental role in the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and the Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group, which support quality research for children with HIV infection.
Stiehm served as chief of the division of pediatric allergy, immunology and rheumatology at UCLA from 1969 to 2003. He received his bachelor's and M.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and completed his residency in pediatrics at Babies Hospital at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York. He completed fellowships in physiological chemistry at the University of Wisconsin and in medicine and pediatrics at the University of California Medical Center, San Francisco.