BETHESDA, MD - The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) has named Brendan Lee, MD, PhD, Robert and Janice McNair Endowed Chair in Molecular and Human Genetics, and Professor and Chairman in the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine, as the 2016 recipient of the Curt Stern Award.
This annual award, named for the late pioneering geneticist Curt Stern, PhD, recognizes genetics and genomics researchers who have made significant scientific contributions during the past decade. ASHG will present the award, which will include a crystal plaque and $10,000 prize, on Tuesday, October 18, during the organization's 66th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.
"I am humbled and honored by this recognition. It is especially meaningful as ASHG is the professional society I have 'grown up' in over the past two decades," Dr. Lee said.
Throughout his career, Dr. Lee has focused on human inborn errors of metabolism and structural birth defects of the skeleton. As a trainee, he identified the first genetic cause of a human chrondrodysplasia and cloned the gene associated with Marfan syndrome, another disorder of connective tissue. Since then, he has made important genetic, mechanistic, and clinical discoveries related to skeletal dysplasias and urea cycle disorders, translated these discoveries into therapeutic advances, and tested these therapies in clinical trials.
In 2006, Dr. Lee and colleagues published a study describing mutations to CRTAP involved in osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), or brittle bone disease, which led to the identification of several other genes involved in OI. Soon afterward, his laboratory discovered a signaling molecule triggered by the CRTAP mutation. The group is now developing a therapy based on that finding.
A longtime member of ASHG, Dr. Lee belonged to the Society's Program Committee from 2001-2004, including a year as its Chair in 2004, and has served as Secretary on the Board of Directors since 2010. He was an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 2002-2014 and has received numerous other awards, including the Society for Pediatric Research's Young Investigator Award in 2000 and its E. Meade Johnson Award for Research in 2009, and election to the National Academy of Medicine in 2013 and to Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2014.