Public Release: 

LA BioMed to honor 2 legendary physician-researchers

Institute to celebrate 10-year anniversary of life-saving therapy

LA BioMed


IMAGE: LA BioMed honors David Heber, M.D., Ph.D., as a Legend for his lifetime of achievement. view more

Credit: LA BioMed

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed) will honor David Heber, MD, PhD, and Ronald J. Nelson, MD, for their lifetime of accomplishments at its 10th Annual Legends event at Palos Verdes Golf Club on April 24.

The evening also will feature a reception to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the government's approval of Aldurazyme® (laronidase), an enzyme replacement therapy developed at LA BioMed. Aldurazyme has saved the lives of hundreds of children born with a devastating genetic disorder, mucopolysaccharidosis I, or MPS I.

The reception will celebrate the role of Biomarin and Genzyme LLC in bringing Aldurazyme to market, as well as the contributions of the MPS I patients and families, laboratory staff and clinicians.

"This will be a very special evening beginning with a reception to celebrate one of LA BioMed's most significant contributions to the lives and health of hundreds of children and culminating in a dinner to honor the extraordinary accomplishments and careers of Dr. Heber and Dr. Nelson," said David I. Meyer, PhD, LA BioMed president and CEO. "Both of our Legends honorees began their careers at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and became leaders in their fields of research."

Dr. Heber is the founding director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition and founding chief of the Division of Clinical Nutrition in the Department of Medicine. In addition to his leadership at UCLA, he's conducted extensive research into obesity treatment and nutrition for cancer prevention and treatment. He has written more than 225 peer-reviewed scientific articles and more than 80 book chapters. He's also authored six books.

Dr. Nelson retired in 1998 from his position as the director of cardiac surgery at Saint John's Hospital in Santa Monica. He had previously served as the chief of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he participated in many pioneering surgical procedures, including the first heart transplant in Southern California.

Legends also will honor two LA BioMed faculty members. Brad J. Spellberg, MD, an infectious disease specialist, will receive the Richard E. Weitzman Memorial Prize for Meritorious Research in the Biomedical Sciences. He is being recognized for his research into vaccines and immunotherapies to treat and prevent highly drug-resistant bacterial infections.

Harry B. Rossiter, PhD, will receive the LA BioMed Young Investigator award for his scholarship and research, which is seeking a better understanding of the control and limitation of oxygen transport and utilization during exercise.

"Legends is always a very special evening of renewing old friendships and recognizing the many contributions of the current faculty and those whose careers began on the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center campus," said Dr. Meyer. "We are especially pleased to have such outstanding honorees this year and the opportunity to celebrate the discoveries made at LA BioMed."


Tickets for Legends are $175 and may be purchased by contacting Lisa Bosnich at 310-222-4240 or

About LA BioMed

Founded in 1952, LA BioMed is one of the country's leading nonprofit independent biomedical research institutes. It has approximately 100 principal researchers conducting studies into improved treatments and cures for cancer, inherited diseases, infectious diseases, illnesses caused by environmental factors and more. It also educates young scientists and provides community services, including prenatal counseling and childhood nutrition programs. LA BioMed is academically affiliated with the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and located on the campus of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. For more information, please visit

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