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Meritorious Awards

APRIL 15, 1916–MAY 27, 1996
EARL P. BENDITT AWARD PRESENTED BY NAVBO

This award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding discovery or developed a concept that has been seminal to our understanding of vascular biology or pathology.

The recipient will receive a crystal plaque and a monetary award and will be asked to give a lecture at the Vascular Biology Meeting.

Recipients of the Earl P. Benditt Award include:

Guillermo Oliver, MS, PhD

2021 NAVBO EARL P. BENDITT AWARD - GUILLERMO OLIVER, PH.D., NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY

The NAVBO Meritorious Awards Committee and Council are pleased to announce the selection of Guillermo Oliver, MS, PhD, as the 2021 recipient of the Earl P. Benditt Award in recognition of his numerous contributions to our understanding of the cell biology of the lymphatic system. Dr. Oliver is currently the Thomas D Spies Professor of Lymphatic Metabolism, the Director of the Center for Vascular and Developmental Biology and Director of the Regenerative Biology & Stem Cell Initiative at Northwestern University. He will present the Benditt Lecture, titled “Prox1 and lymphatics, a personal perspective,” and receive the award, one of NAVBO's highest honors, at Vascular Biology 2021 in Pacific Grove, California (October 24, 2021).

Dr. Oliver earned an MS (1983) at the Institute of Biomedical Research, National University of Mexico in Cuernavaca, and a PhD (1990) from the School of Sciences, University of Uruguay, Montevideo. His doctoral research, conducted under the mentorship of Edward De Robertis at UCLA, examined the role of homeobox genes in vertebrate pattern formation. Following stints on the faculty of the University of Uruguay and the staff of the Max Planck Institute of Biophysical Chemistry in Gottingen, he joined the faculty at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, rising to the rank of Professor in 2006. He moved to the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine in 2015, assuming the Spies Professorship and the leadership positions he now holds.

Among the most significant contributions Dr. Oliver has made in his research career is the characterization of the lymphatic system as a fluid-dynamic and developmental marvel, in essence rediscovering a vascular network which had been virtually ignored by researchers during the 20th century. In a seminal work published in Cell in 1999, his lab identified Prox1 as the first specific marker for lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) and described the first mouse model devoid of a lymphatic vasculature. Subsequently, his group proposed and demonstrated that blood endothelial cells (BECs) are the default condition from which LEC fate is induced by Prox1 (published in EMBO J, 2002) and that the LEC phenotype is plastic and reversible and requires constant expression of Prox1 to maintain its differentiated state (Genes & Dev, 2008). In 2007, his laboratory demonstrated that most embryonic LECs were venous-derived by using a detailed lineage tracing approach (Genes & Dev, 2007).

Across these years, his laboratory dissected the molecular mechanisms leading to the specification and differentiation of LECs during development. In a surprising twist, Dr. Oliver and his colleagues discovered that a defective lymphatic vasculature promotes obesity in mice (Nat Genetics, 2005). Importantly, in the Discussion section of that paper Dr. Oliver argued that, like Prox1+/− mice, individuals with subtle defects in the patterning and integrity of their lymphatic vasculature might not have overt symptoms of lymphatic dysfunction, and lymphatic abnormalities may therefore remain undetected. This visionary concept is currently becoming valid and relevant, as the functional roles of the lymphatic vasculature in pathophysiological conditions, including obesity, has been increasingly recognized in recent years, changing our conventional views about the roles of the lymphatic vasculature in health and disease. Morphological or functional defects in the lymphatic vasculature have now been uncovered in several pathological conditions supporting his original proposal that subtle, asymptomatic alterations in lymphatic vascular function could underlie the variability seen in the body’s response to a wide range of human diseases. More recently, work in progress in his lab identified an unexpected novel functional role of lymphatic-derived lympho-angiocrine factors in cardiac growth and repair.

Dr. Oliver and his collaborators have published over 120 peer-reviewed papers, and his research on Prox1 in mammalian lymphangiogenesis has earned NIH RO1 support for 18 consecutive years. He enjoys the great respect and admiration of his scientific peers for both his research accomplishments and his role as a mentor for young scientists. Notes of his award nominees: “The creation of the next generation of scientists is arguably the most important contribution a senior scientist can make, and in the case of Dr. Oliver he has populated an entire field of vascular biology. This is a lasting legacy for both Dr. Oliver and vascular biology that is in the true spirit of the Benditt award.”

Please join us at VB2021 at Asilomar this October to honor Dr. Oliver as he receives this well-deserved award.

Compiled by William R. Huckle,
NAVBO Editor

Patricia D’Amore, PhD, MBA

2020 NAVBO EARL P. BENDITT AWARD - PATRICIA D'AMORE, SCHEPHEN'S EYE INSTITUTE, MASS EYE AND EAR, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL

The NAVBO Meritorious Awards Committee and Council are pleased to announce the selection of Patricia D’Amore, PhD, MBA, as the 2020 recipient of the Earl P. Benditt Award, in recognition of her numerous contributions to our understanding of vascular development and growth. Dr. D’Amore is currently the Charles L. Schepens Professor of Ophthalmology and Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. She will present the Benditt Lecture"Understanding capillary growth and pathology using the retina as a model system," via an online webinar on November 5 at 1:00pmET.  The webinar will be accessible to all NAVBO members.

Dr. D’Amore earned a PhD in Biology from Boston University in 1977 and pursued postdoctoral research in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Physiological Chemistry at Johns Hopkins, where she was appointed Assistant Professor in 1980. She returned to Boston in 1981 to join Judah Folkman in the Program in Vascular Biology at Boston Children’s Hospital, where she remains a Research Associate in the Department of Surgery. Dr. D’Amore rose to the rank of Associate Professor of Pathology (1989) and Professor of Ophthalmology (1998) at Harvard Medical School, assuming the Schepens Professorship as Director of Research at the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear in 2012. In 2014, she was appointed Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, where she directs the Howe Laboratory and serves as Associate Chief for Ophthalmology Basic and Translational Research in the Department of Ophthalmology.

Dr. D’Amore is recognized internationally as an expert in vascular growth and development, working at the forefront of angiogenesis research for over three decades. Among her foremost contributions is the identification of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) as the elusive causative factor in ocular diseases characterized by over-exuberant blood vessel growth. These investigations proved fundamental in the rationale for development of anti-VEGF therapies, first approved for clinical use in 2004 and currently in use to treat various cancers, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration. Dr. D’Amore also developed the widely-used hyperoxic murine neonate model of retinopathy, enabling numerous basic scientific investigations of vascular development and preclinical studies of vascular-targeting agents. Her current research focuses on understanding the developmental dynamics and maturational stabilization of the microvasculature.

Dr. D’Amore has published more than 160 peer-reviewed papers, dozens of reviews, and is editor or co-editor of four books. She has received numerous honors, including the Alcon Research Institute Award, the Cogan Award and Proctor Medal from ARVO, the Rous-Whipple Award from the American Society of Investigative Pathology, the Endre A. Balazs Award from the International Society for Eye Research, and the António Champalimaud Vision Award, the highest distinction in ophthalmology and visual science. Most recently, she was elected as a Fellow of American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Medical Sciences.

Colleagues writing in support of Dr. D’Amore’s nomination noted that “…D’Amore is an outstanding teacher, mentor and communicator in the world of vascular biology, locally, nationally and internationally. She is a much sought-after collaborator and colleague, who is passionately committed to the academic mission and presents a wonderful role model for young women trainees in the biomedical sciences. She thus embodies the spirit of Dr. Earl Benditt, as he is remembered for both his scientific contributions and his mentorship.”

Please join Michael Gimbrone online November 5 to honor Dr. D’Amore as she receives this well-deserved award.

Compiled by William R. Huckle,
NAVBO Editor

William Sessa, PhD

2019 NAVBO EARL P. BENDITT AWARD - WILLIAM C. SESSA, YALE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

The NAVBO Meritorious Awards Committee and Council is pleased to announce the selection of William Sessa, PhD, as the 2019 recipient of the Earl P. Benditt Award, in recognition of his numerous contributions to our understanding of mechanisms regulating nitric oxide production in the vascular endothelium. Dr. Sessa is currently the Alfred Gilman Professor of Pharmacology and Professor of Medicine at Yale University, where he also serves as Vice Chairman of Pharmacology and Director of the Vascular Biology & Therapeutics Program. He will present the Benditt Lecture and receive the award, one of NAVBO's highest honors, at Vascular Biology 2019 in Pacific Grove, California (October 27, 2019).

Following undergraduate studies at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Sciences, Dr. Sessa completed M.S. and Ph.D. studies in Pharmacology at the University of Rhode Island and New York Medical College. He conducted post-doctoral research at the William Harvey Research Institute in London and the University of Virginia, after which he joined the faculty of Yale’s School of Medicine, rising to the rank of Professor of Pharmacology in 1999. His scholarly contributions, reported in well over 300 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, and reviews, have earned Dr. Sessa numerous awards and honors in the U.S. and internationally, including the 2000 John Jacob Abel Medal in Pharmacology from American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and the 2010 William Harvey Medal. In 2017, he was awarded an Outstanding Investigator Award (R35) from NHLBI, in strong support of his ongoing investigations of endothelial function.

As noted in his bio, Dr. Sessa’s principal contributions to science revolve around the molecular aspects of endothelial nitric oxide synthase activation and how eNOS regulates angiogenesis, vascular permeability, atherosclerosis and vascular remodeling. As a post-doctoral fellow at UVa, his was one of the three labs to clone eNOS. Across his career as a faculty member, his lab has probed eNOS subcellular trafficking, post-translational lipidation, characterized major sites of eNOS phosphorylation, and showed that growth factors and shear stress regulate eNOS protein-protein interactions and NO release from the endothelium. He was the first to demonstrate that eNOS derived NO regulates angiogenic behaviors of endothelial cells in an autocrine manner in response to VEGF, and it is now appreciated that NO contributes to several of the biological actions of VEGF. Although eNOS was considered a “constitutive gene,” his lab demonstrated that eNOS mRNA and protein levels were induced by exercise training, consistent with a critical adaptive response to changes in shear, pressure and flow.

Dr. Sessa has served his institution and profession in a number of capacities, chairing study sections at the NIH and American Heart Association and serving as President of NAVBO and editor for major cardiovascular journals. As a research mentor, he has trained dozens of post-doctoral fellows and doctoral students, the latter group including NAVBO’s 2017 Judah Folkman Awardee, Guillermo García-Cardeña, PhD and the 2011 Springer Junior Investigator Awardee, Carlos Fernández-Hernando, PhD. Please join us for VB2019 at Asilomar this October to honor Dr. Sessa as he receives this well-deserved award.

Dr. Sessa will give his talk entitled, "Integration of endothelial function and lipid metabolism," on Sunday, October 27, 2019 at 8:15pm in Merrill Hall at the Asilomar Conference Grounds.

Compiled by William R. Huckle,
NAVBO Editor

Rakesh K. Jain, Ph.D

2018 NAVBO EARL P. BENDITT AWARD - RAKESH JAIN, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL

The NAVBO Meritorious Awards Committee and Council is pleased to announce the selection of Rakesh K. Jain, Ph.D., as the 2018 recipient of the Earl P. Benditt Award, in recognition of his numerous contributions to our understanding of the unique characteristics of tumor vasculature. Dr. Jain is currently the Andrew Werk Cook Professor of Tumor Biology (Radiation Oncology) at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Edwin L. Steele Laboratory for Tumor Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital. He will present the Benditt Lecture and receive the award, one of NAVBO's highest honors, at Vascular Biology 2018 in Newport, Rhode Island (October 17, 2018).

Following undergraduate studies in Chemical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, Dr. Jain received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware. He held faculty positions in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University and Carnegie Mellon University prior to joining the Harvard faculty in 1991. He has served on a multitude of editorial boards, review panels, and advisory groups. Dr. Jain’s research has been supported steadily for decades by the NIH and other agencies, including the Gates Foundation and Department of Defense. His scholarly contributions, reported in well over 650 publications, book chapters, and reviews, have earned Dr. Jain scores of awards and honors in the U.S. and internationally, including election to the United States National Academies of Medicine (2003), Engineering (2004), and Sciences (2009). He holds seven U.S. patents and received the United States National Medal of Science for 2013.

Dr. Jain is regarded as a trailblazer in the study of tumor microenvironment, examining in detail the notion that the relationships between tumors and their surrounding non-tumor tissue—including blood vessels—are essential determinants of disease progression, therapeutic efficacy, and patient prognosis. Dr. Jain’s nominators note that, in sum, his work has provided “…unprecedented molecular, cellular, anatomical and functional insights into the vascular pathophysiology of tumors, for proposing the seminal hypothesis that antiangiogenic therapy can ‘normalize’ the aberrant vasculature and microenvironment of tumors and thereby improve both delivery and efficacy of treatment of solid tumors.” His studies revealed that the blood and lymphatic vasculature, fibroblasts, immune cells and the extracellular matrix associated with tumors are abnormal, collectively creating a hostile tumor microenvironment characterized by hypoxia, low pH and high interstitial fluid pressure. He and his collaborators subsequently hypothesized that normalizing the microenvironment may improve treatment outcome and subsequently have demonstrated that judicious use of antiangiogenic agents—originally designed to starve tumors—could transiently “normalize” tumor vasculature, alleviate hypoxia, increase delivery of drugs and anti-tumor immune cells, and improve the outcome of various therapies, including immunotherapy. Dr. Jain’s more recent work includes efforts to improve the vascular competence of engineered tissue in the context of regenerative medicine. By generating endothelial and smooth muscle cells from human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, his lab is bringing functional and durable engineered vessels closer to translation into the clinic.

Please join us for VB2018 in Newport this October to honor Dr. Jain as he receives this well-deserved award.  Dr. Jain will give his talk, "Reengineering the tumor microenvironment to improve cancer treatment: Bench to bedside" on October 17, 2018 at 3:15pm in the Grand Ballroom of Gurney's Newport Resort and Marina.

Compiled by William R. Huckle,
NAVBO Editor

Peter Libby, M.D.

2017 NAVBO EARL P. BENDITT AWARD - PETER LIBBY, BRIGHAM & WOMEN'S HOSPITAL, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL

BRIGHAM AND WOMEN'S HOSPITAL CHIEF OF CARDIOVASCULAR MEDICINE AND HARVARD PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE PETER LIBBY, MD

The NAVBO Meritorious Awards Committee and Council are pleased to announce the selection of Peter Libby, M.D., as the 2017 recipient of the Earl P. Benditt Award, in recognition of his numerous significant contributions to elucidating the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and its complications. Dr. Libby is currently Mallinckrodt Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, serving also as Senior Physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Consulting Physician in the Department of Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He will present the Benditt Lecture and receive the award, one of NAVBO's highest honors, at Vascular Biology 2017 in Pacific Grove, California (October 15-19, 2017).

Following undergraduate studies in Biochemistry at the University of California-Berkeley, Dr. Libby received his M.D. from UC-San Diego in 1973 and trained thereafter as an intern, resident and fellow at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He has held a series of research and clinical positions at Harvard and Tufts University, rising to the rank of Professor of Medicine at Harvard in 1996. He has held leadership positions in numerous clinical trials and served on a multitude of editorial boards, review panels, and advisory groups. Dr. Libby’s research has been supported steadily by the NIH and other agencies for decades, and he serves as the PI of a T32 training grant in cardiovascular research that is in its 32nd year of funding. His scholarly contributions, reported in well more than 350 peer-reviewed publications and over 400 book chapters and reviews, have earned Dr. Libby dozens of honors in the U.S. and internationally, including a MERIT Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (1993-2003), the American Heart Association’s Basic Research Prize, (2011), and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (2014).

As a basic scientist, Dr. Libby has achieved worldwide recognition for his laboratory’s important work on the biology of the endothelium, vascular smooth muscle, and their interactions with inflammatory cells. Of particular note is his contribution to our understanding of the roles of CD40 and CD40L, matrix metalloproteinases and soluble inflammatory mediators. Those writing in support of Dr. Libby’s nomination for the Benditt Award laud his willingness to critically evaluate mouse models as predictors of human pathophysiology or fruitful therapeutic approaches. Dr. Libby and his colleagues were the first to discover that vascular wall cells produce pro-inflammatory cytokines and that inflammatory mechanisms change collagen metabolism and control the susceptibility of atheromata to disrupt and cause thrombosis – key elements of our current understanding of the progression of atherosclerotic disease.

Dr. Libby enjoys a stellar reputation as a teacher and mentor and is a highly sought-after speaker both nationally and abroad. His service to NAVBO likewise has been exemplary: as a “founding member,” he has played leadership roles on the Steering and Development Committees, on Council (1994-1996, 2012-2015), and has fostered productive relationships between NAVBO and other organizations with common goals and constituencies, particularly the American Heart Association.

Please join us at Vascular Biology 2017 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds this fall to honor Dr. Libby as he receives this well-deserved award.  Dr. Libby will give his talk, "Inflammation in Cardiovascular Disease: A Translational Journey" on October 18, 2017 at 3:15pm in Merrill Hall.

Compiled by William R. Huckle,
NAVBO Editor

Elisabetta Dejana, Ph.D.

2016 NAVBO EARL P. BENDITT AWARD - ELISABETTA DEJANA, UNIVERSITY OF UPPSALA

The NAVBO Meritorious Awards Committee and Council are pleased to announce the selection of Elisabetta Dejana, Ph.D.,
as the 2016 recipient of the Earl P. Benditt Award, in recognition of her pioneering studies in endothelial cell biology and inflammation.  Dr. Dejana is currently Chief of the Angiogenesis Program, Institute of Molecular Oncology, Italian Foundation for Cancer Research (FIRC) in Milan, Italy and professor of Pathology at the Department of Immunology, genetics and Patology, University of Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden.  She will present the Benditt Lecture and receive the award, one of NAVBO's highest honors, at the 19th International Vascular Biology Meeting (October 30-November 3, 2016) in Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Dejana received her doctorate in Biological Sciences from the University of Bologna and has held a variety of research and academic posts in Paris, Grenoble, Stockholm, and Milan. She became Chief of the Angiogenesis Program at FIRC in 2000 and was appointed Full Professor of General Pathology in the School of Sciences at the University of Milan in 2002. She has participated on numerous scientific advisory boards, and her research contributions, reported in more than 300 scientific publications, have earned Dr. Dejana awards across Europe and in the US.

Dr. Dejana has achieved international recognition for elucidation of molecular mechanisms by which cells of the vascular endothelium interact with each other, with cells of the immune system, and with the extracellular matrix. These relationships are fundamental to any physiological process involving dynamics of blood vessel structure, including modulation of vascular permeability, angiogenesis or vascular regression, and well-regulated inflammation and hemostasis. These processes are of particular importance in cardiovascular diseases that involve pathologies of immune function, vascular leakage, hemorrhage and thrombosis.

A major contribution from Dr. Dejana’s laboratory has been characterization of the molecular architecture of endothelial cell-cell junctions. Her seminal 1992 paper in the Journal of Cell Biology reported the discovery of VE-cadherin as a key protein component of cell-to-cell adherence junctions. Subsequent research has revealed that formation of VE-cadherin/Β-catenin complexes not only shapes endothelial junctions but also allows transfer of intracellular signals that mediate such important functions such as endothelial tubulogenesis, establishment of polarity, contact inhibition of cell proliferation and inhibition of apoptosis. The impact of these findings throughout the international vascular biology community is evidenced by the appearance of >2100 publications related to VE-cadherin in peer-reviewed journals. In addition to VE-cadherin, Dr. Dejana identified the first member of the junctional adhesion molecule family (JAM-A), a small immunoglobulin-like molecule enriched at endothelial and epithelial cell-to-cell tight junctions. Her lab has found, using approaches of targeted gene modulation and blocking monoclonal antibodies, that JAM-A has a fundamental role in regulating leukocyte and tumor cell transmigration through endothelial cell-to-cell junctions.

More recently, Dr. Dejana’s research has explored the role of defective adherens junction components in Cerebral Cavernous Malformations (CCMs), lesions of the cerebral vasculature that can lead to hemorrhagic stroke and seizure disorders. The architecture of endothelial cell-cell junctions is markedly altered in this disease, producing the vessels that are fragile and with incomplete polarization and poorly formed lumina. The defective junctional components CCM1, -2, and -3 described by Dr. Dejana represent novel biochemical targets underlying this family of disorders, and her experimental systems that model the features of CCMs provide a valuable setting in which testing potential therapeutic compounds.

Please join us at IVBM in Boston this fall to honor Dr. Dejana as she receives this well-deserved award.  Dr. Dejana will give her talk, "Transcriptional Regulation of Endothelial Cell Plasticity in Health and Disease" on November 3, 2016 at the International Vascular Biology Meeting in Boston, MA.

Compiled by William R. Huckle,
NAVBO Editor

Eli Keshet, M.Sc., Ph.D.

2015 NAVBO EARL P. BENDITT AWARD - ELI KESHET, HADASSAH MEDICAL SCHOOL, THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY

Dr. Keshet will give his talk, "VEGF, Blood Vessels and Stem Cell Niches" on October 21, 2015 at Vascular Biology 2015 in Hyannis, MA on Cape Cod.

The NAVBO Meritorious Awards Committee and Council are pleased to announce the selection of Eli Keshet, M.Sc., Ph.D., as the 2015 recipient of the Earl P. Benditt Award, in recognition of his pioneering studies on the regulation of angiogenesis. Dr. Keshet is currently Full Professor in Developmental Biology and Cancer Research at the School of Medicine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. He will present the Benditt Lecture and receive the award, one of NAVBO's highest honors, at Vascular Biology 2015 in Hyannis, Massachusetts, on October 21, 2015.

Dr. Keshet received his B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees from the Hebrew University. His post-doctoral work included studies in the laboratory of Howard Temin at the University of Wisconsin (1976-79), followed by stints as Senior Scientist and Senior Lecturer at the Weizmann Institute and Hebrew University, respectively. After two years as a Visiting Scientist at the NIH, Dr. Keshet joined the faculty at Hebrew University in 1986, rising to the rank of Full Professor in 1993.

The contributions of Dr. Keshet's research group on Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) can be found throughout the field of vascular biology. Their seminal paper in Nature in 1992 identified hypoxia as key regulator of VEGF expression, only a few short years after the biochemical definition of this key angiogenic agent. Thus, a link was established between the tissue microenvironment and the molecular induction of angiogenesis. As the starting point of molecular hypoxia research, this work led to exploration of hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) and prolyl hydroxylases as regulators of gene expression by ischemia. Subsequently, Dr. Keshet identified hormonal regulators of VEGF expression and characterized VEGF as a survival factor for the developing vasculature. His laboratory experimentally modeled retinopathy of prematurity, describing the "front" of invading endothelial cells now conceptualized as the tip cell – stalk cell relationship. His work demonstrating that VEGF withdrawal leads to ablation of immature blood vessels helped establish VEGF as a meaningful target for translational anti-angiogenesis research. More than twenty years into his academic career, Dr. Keshet continues to identify avenues of VEGF research, including identifying a novel splice variant of sVEGFR1 associated with human preeclampsia. More recently, the Keshet lab has described perfusion-independent control of the stereotypic branching of lung airways by blood vessels during development.

Beyond these landmark contributions to our knowledge of vascular biology, Dr. Keshet's nomination for the Benditt Award noted that he is "...a role model... as a person and as a scientist... truly one of the most creative scientists... modest and humble..." "More importantly, his lab is proof of the fact that what counts in science is brains and not manpower or technological power." Please join us at Hyannis in October to honor Dr. Eli Keshet as he receives this well-deserved award.

Compiled by William R. Huckle,
NAVBO Editor

Jordan S. Pober, M.D., Ph.D

2014 NAVBO EARL P. BENDITT AWARD - JORDAN S. POBER, YALE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

Dr. Pober will give his talk, "Lymphocyte Interactions with the Vessel Wall" on October 22, 2014 at Vascular Biology 2014 in Pacific Grove, CA (Monterey Peninsula).

The NAVBO Meritorious Awards Committee and Council is pleased to announce the selection of Jordan S. Pober, M.D., Ph.D, as the 2014 recipient of the Earl P. Benditt Award, in recognition of his pioneering work in endothelial cell biology and vascular immunology. Dr. Pober is currently the inaugural Bayer Professor of Translational Medicine, Director of Human and Translational Immunology Program, and Vice-Chair of the Department of Immunobiology for the Section of Human and Translational Immunology at the Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Pober will present the Benditt Lecture and receive the award, one of NAVBO's highest honors, at Vascular Biology 2014 in Pacific Grove, California, on October 22, 2014.

Dr. Pober received his M.D. and Ph.D. in 1977 from Yale, having performed graduate research under the direction of Lubert Stryer and Jack Strominger, themselves major figures in biochemistry and immunology, respectively. Dr. Pober has remained a leader in the vascular biology field for over 30 years. His important work in the early 1980s demonstrated that cytokines of innate immunity (TNF and IL-1) and of adaptive immunity (IFN-gamma and IL-4) act on human endothelium to induce molecules that mediate interactions with circulating leukocytes including Class I and, unexpectedly, Class II MHC molecules, leukocyte adhesion molecules and chemokines. Based upon these discoveries, Dr. Pober formulated and introduced the concept of endothelial activation. This concept is now a widely accepted paradigm of inflammation, changing our view of the endothelium from a passive barrier to a central and active player in inflammatory processes. In this respect, Dr. Pober's work clearly reaches the ideal of the Benditt Award as recognizing "...an individual who has made an outstanding discovery or developed a concept that has been seminal to our understanding of vascular biology or pathology."

In addition to his influential work in vascular inflammation, Jordan laboratory was one of the first to clone a molecule (PDGF B) from endothelial cells, isolate Weibel-Palade bodies, and define mechanisms of secretion of vonWillebrand Factor. More recently, he has continued to advance important concepts in vascular immunobiology as evidenced by his work on the immunologic causation of graft vasculopathy by cytokines such as IFN-gamma and the generation of synthetic microvessels as a means to improve blood flow. He also continues to make new and interesting observations on how vascular cells may regulate adaptive immune responses through antigen presentation.

In addition to his scholarship, Jordan was both a founding member and former President of NAVBO (1997-1998) and has served the scientific community on numerous editorial boards and study sections. He founded the first interdepartmental program at Yale Medical School in 1991 and has assembled one of the preeminent vascular biology programs in the country. In 2007, he initiated the Human Translational Immunology Program and has continued to recruit and build this important program at Yale to apply the discoveries of immunology to immune modulated diseases in humans such as transplant arteriopathy, diabetes and cancer. Jordan is widely regarded as an outstanding mentor, incredible intellect and invaluable colleague. Please join us at Asilomar to honor Jordan as he receives this well-deserved award in October.

Compiled by William R. Huckle,
NAVBO Editor

Michael Klagsbrun, Ph.D.

2013 NAVBO EARL P. BENDITT AWARD - MICHAEL KLAGSBRUN, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL

Dr. Klagsbrun gave his talk, "FromFGF to neuropilin: Identifying novel regulators of angiogenesis and cancer" via a pre-recorded video. Dr. Patricia D'Amore was on hand at the meeting to accept the award on his behalf.

The NAVBO Meritorious Awards Committee and Council are pleased to announce the selection of Michael Klagsbrun, Ph.D., as the 2013 recipient of the Earl P. Benditt Award, in recognition of his long history of accomplishment in elucidating the role of growth factors in vascular homeostasis and disease. Dr. Klagsbrun will present the Benditt Lecture, "FromFGF to neuropilin: Identifying novel regulators of angiogenesis and cancer," and receive the award, one of NAVBO's highest accolades, at the NAVBO Workshops in Vascular Biology 2013 (October 20-24) in Hyannis, Massachusetts.

Dr. Klagsbrun earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the laboratory of Robert Bock and pursued post-doctoral training in the Laboratory of Biochemical Pharmacology, in what was then the NIH's Institute of Arthritis, Metabolism, and Digestive Diseases. Following a stint as a staff member at the NIH, he joined the Department of Surgery at Harvard Medical School in 1973 and has remained at that institution ever since, earning the position of Patricia K. Donahoe Professor of Surgery in 2001. Dr. Klagsbrun is currently Senior Associate in Medicine, Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children's Hospital.

Dr. Klagsbrun's laboratory is credited with the first purifications of basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2), a potent angiogenic factor, and of heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF), a potent smooth muscle mitogen. Dr. Klagsbrun's colleagues point to his introduction of heparin-affinity chromatography to the purification of growth factors as a significant accelerator of research into the regulation of cell proliferation in general, and of vascular endothelial mitogenesis in particular.

More recently, the Klagsbrun lab has purified and characterized the neuropilin class of vascular growth
factor receptors that act as novel receptors for members of the VEGF family of angiogenic factor. Neuropilin was originally described as a receptor for semaphorin, a protein involved in regulating axon guidance. These studies have suggested that similar molecular mechanisms regulate angiogenesis and neuronal guidance, both of which are networking processes whose close regulation is essential during prenatal development. This work, published in Cell, yielded landmark findings that have transformed our view of the role of neuropilin in regulating key biological processes. Since that original study, Dr. Klagsbrun and his group have gone on to demonstrate that VEGF binds both neuropilin and VEGFR-2 to form a ternary complex that enhances VEGF's angiogenic activity. His work with neuropilin knockouts in mice and knockdowns in zebrafish was the first to demonstrate the neuropilins are necessary for angiogenesis. These studies have led to the discovery that members of the class-3 semaphorin family of axon guidance mediators actually inhibit angiogenesis.

In the realm of the EGF receptor family of proteins, Dr. Klagsbrun and his group have found that tumor endothelial cells, unlike normal endothelial cells, express ERbB1 and that EGFR KI inhibits tumor growth partly by blocking tumor endothelial EGFR activity. These studies suggest that it may, in fact, be possible to target tumor blood vessels without affecting the normal vasculature, a finding with significant therapeutic importance.

To quote from a letter of nomination: "It is my opinion that the field of vascular biology would be ten years behind its present accomplishments had it not been for the pioneering and continuing work of Dr. Michael Klagsbrun. ... with nearly 300 publications, many in the very best journals, and the clear credit for developing several new areas within the field of vascular biology, Dr. Klagsbrun's accomplishments should not be underestimated. He is a true pioneer, a creative thinker, a rigorous scientist and one of the great lights of our field."

Compiled by William R. Huckle,
NAVBO Editor

Bradford C. Berk, M.D., PhD.

2012 NAVBO EARL P. BENDITT AWARD - BRADFORD C. BERK, UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER MEDICAL CENTER

Dr. Berk holds the 2012 jade crystal Earl P. Benditt Award just after giving his talk, "How Many Dynes Make a Good Time?" at the NAVBO Workshops in Vascular Biology 2012 in Monterey, CA

The Earl Benditt Award was presented to Bradford C. Berk, M.D., PhD. at the NAVBO Workshop in Vascular Biology in Asilomar. This award recognized the many contributions that Dr. Berk has made to vascular biology over the duration of his career. His cleverly entitled presentation "How Many Dynes Make a Good Time" integrated his many avenues of investigation. He began his presentation with "Hemodynamics 101", summarizing many years of research by engineers, vascular biologists and physiologists, who have described the roles of shear stress, disturbed blood flow, and the predilection for atherosclerosis to occur at sites of disturbed flow. One of the most intriguing mysteries of mechano transduction is what are the shear stress receptors, and how do they transmit physical forces into biological responses.

A critical atheroprotective biomechanical pathway identified by the Berk laboratory was the MEK5-ERK5 signal transduction cascade in endothelial cells. Steady flow stimulates all of the MAP kinases with the exception of JNK. The Berk lab and many others showed activation of an atheroprotective pathway that involves MEK5- ERK5-PPARg and KLF2 signaling. Steady flow activates both anti-inflammatory and pro-survival pathways, and inhibits pro-inflammatory and death pathways such as those stimulated by TNF. Specifically, the laboratory of Dr. Wang Min and Berk showed that steady flow inhibited Apoptosis Signal Regulated Kinase (ASK1). ASK1 is activated by reactive oxygen species, as well as by TNFa, and leads to apoptosis, endothelial cell dysfunction, and inflammation. Steady flow inhibits ASK1 activation by enhanced interaction of ASK1 with its inhibitor, thioredoxin.

Because there was no change in the amount of thioredoxin, and increase in its activity Dr. Berk's laboratory hypothesized that steady flow decreased a thioredoxin inhibitory protein. This lead to the identification of thioredoxin interacting protein (TXNIP) by down regulating TXNIP under conditions of steady flow. In contrast, disturbed flow increases TXNIP expression. In TXNIP deficient mice, the up regulation of VCAM-1 by TNFa was reduced. Furthermore, endothelial TXNIP expression was increased in areas of disturbed flow (e.g. branch points) in vivo, and increased in vitro by disturbed flow. This increase in TXNIP is also required for leukocyte adhesion. KLF2 reverses TXNIP-induced leukocyte adhesion molecule expression (ICAM, VCAM) and interestingly, disturbed flow inhibits KLF2 promoter activity.

ERK5 also inhibits TNF induced JNK activation, and inhibition of this kinase by an inhibitor (BIX02188) prevents flow inhibition of TNF. Further exploration of the mechanism of ERK5 inhibition lead to the identification of a role for protein kinase C z (PKCz). PKCz is activated by disturbed flow; Berk's laboratory showed that TNF cleaved PKCz generating a catalytically active form, CAT z via activation of caspase 3; and flow inhibited this cleavage as well as caspase-3 activation, thus interrupting a positive feedback loop induced by TNF that would otherwise lead to endothelial apoptosis. PKCz crosstalk with the ERK5-KLF2 pathway thus modulates vascular inflammation. In addition to promoting leukocyte binding to endothelial cells via induction of ICAM, this kinase stimulates endothelial apoptosis via JNK and caspase 3 activation, as well as by stimulating p53 SUMOylation.

Thus flow can stimulate both atheroprotective (MEK5-ERK5-KLF2) and atheropromoting (PKCz-JNK). More recently the laboratories of Abe and Berk have shown that disturbed flow stimulates inflammation and endothelial apoptosis by promoting phosphyloration of ERK5 by PKCz, thereby inhibiting activation of KLF2. Furthermore, TXNIP inhibits KLF2 transcription by acting as a co-repressor of KLF2 gene transcription. Elucidation of the counter-regulatory pathways explains the site specific nature of atherosclerosis, with steady flow promoting anti-inflammatory, vasodilatory and pro-survival signals. In contrast, disturbed flow stimulates pro-inflammatory, vasoconstrictor and pro-death responses.

Dr. Berk acknowledged his many students, post-doctoral fellows, assistants and collaborators who contributed to the work that he presented: Jun-ichi Abe, Keigi Fujiwara, Gwen Garin, Ryan Hoefen, Zheng-Gen Jin, Geun-Young Kim, Rich Lee, Wang Min, Patrizia Nigro, Xinchun Pi, Oded Spindel, James Surapisitchat, Xiaoquin Wang, Chang-Hoon Woo, Cameron World, Hide Yamawaki and Chen Yan.

by Mary Gerritsen

FEBRUARY 24, 1933 – JANUARY 14, 2008
JUDAH FOLKMAN AWARD IN VASCULAR BIOLOGY PRESENTED BY NAVBO

The Judah Folkman Award is a mid-career award. At the time of the Award, nominees will be between 3 and 15 years of their first faculty appointment (Assistant Professor or in non-academia, Staff Scientist or equivalent).  Therefore, a nominee's initial faculty appointment must be between 2005 and 2017 for the 2020 award.

In recognition of the breadth of Dr. Folkman's interests and his many contributions to vascular biology, the award will not be limited to the field of angiogenesis per se, but will encompass the full range of original research in vascular biology. Awardee will have made a significant impact on the field through his/her original research accomplishments.

Past Recipients include:

Carlos Fernández-Hernando, PhD

2021 NAVBO JUDAH FOLKMAN AWARD IN VASCULAR BIOLOGY - CARLOS FERNÁNDEZ-HERNANDO, M.S., PH.D., YALE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

The NAVBO Meritorious Awards Committee, the Scientific Advisory Board, and the NAVBO Council announce with pleasure the selection of Carlos Fernández-Hernando, PhD, as the recipient of the 2021 Judah Folkman Award in Vascular Biology. This award recognizes outstanding contributions from vascular biologists who are at mid-career (within fifteen years of their first faculty appointment). Dr. Fernández-Hernando will present his Folkman Award Lecture and receive the award at Vascular Biology 2021 in Pacific Grove, California (October 27, 2021).

Dr. Fernández-Hernando earned a BSc in Chemistry (1998) and a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2003) from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain. Following post-doctoral work at Hospital Ramón y Cajal, Spain, and Yale University School of Medicine, he joined the faculty of the NYU School of Medicine in 2009. He moved to Yale as an Associate Professor in the Department of Comparative Medicine and the Interdepartmental Program in Vascular Biology and Therapeutics in 2013. Since 2019, he has held the position of Professor in Yale’s Departments of Comparative Medicine and Pathology, with continuing roles in the Programs in VBT and Integrative Cell Signaling & Neurobiology Metabolism.

Dr. Fernández-Hernando’s early research focused on the study of cellular cholesterol homeostasis in regulating cell cycle progression and cellular proliferation. His postdoctoral research in Vascular Biology and Pharmacology at Yale University School of Medicine examined the molecular mechanisms that control lipoprotein transport across the endothelium during atherosclerosis and the regulation of eNOS activity. During his time at Yale, he and Dr. Suárez accomplished in Bill Sessa’s lab the first identification and characterization of miRNAs as major regulators of endothelial cell biology and angiogenesis.

As an Assistant Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and Cell Biology and the Vascular Biology and Disease Program at NYU, his group published a landmark paper in Science reporting discovery of a small RNA (miR-33) that regulates cholesterol and fatty acid metabolism. In a series of key studies, he was able to demonstrate that miRNA-33 provides a critical link between the regulation of cholesterol biosynthesis by SREBP2 and cholesterol efflux pathways mediated by ABCA1, a transporter that controls cellular cholesterol efflux and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) biogenesis. This important discovery represents one of the first examples where a miRNA cooperates with its host gene to regulate a similar physiological process. In addition to miRNA-33, his lab has also identified a number of other relevant miRNAs (miR-144, miR-27 and miR-148a) involved in the regulation of lipoprotein metabolism and cholesterol homeostasis.

Other research in his lab examines the contribution of cholesterol biosynthetic intermediates and cholesterol derivatives in regulating macrophage immune response during atherosclerosis and type-2 diabetes. This work has identified desmosterol as the natural LXR ligand that regulates cholesterol metabolism and inflammasome activation in atherosclerotic vascular disease. His research group has also begun to dissect the contribution of ANGPTL proteins in regulating angiogenesis and lipid metabolism. In a number of related studies, his lab has demonstrated that ANGPTL4 influences the progression of atherosclerosis by affecting macrophage foam cell formation in atherosclerotic plaques and accelerating the catabolism of triglyceride rich lipoproteins.

The research described above, featured in over 100 peer-reviewed papers published to date, has established Dr. Fernández-Hernando internationally as a pioneer in the identification and characterization of non-coding RNAs as major regulatory molecules controlling cholesterol homeostasis and lipoprotein metabolism. He has been the recipient of numerous awards for his contributions in the field of lipid metabolism and vascular biology, including the Irvine Page Young Investigator Award (American Heart Association), David L. Williams Award (Kern Lipid Conference), Established Investigator Award (American Heart Association) and an NIH/NHLBI R35 Investigator Award. Closer to home, Dr. Fernández-Hernando holds the distinction of being the inaugural recipient of NAVBO’s Springer Junior Investigator Award in 2011.

“Like Dr. Folkman,” notes a letter of nomination for the eponymous award, “Carlos is an enthusiastic, passionate mentor, exceptional colleague and collaborator and a well-respected, thought leader in the field.” Please join us for VB2021 at Asilomar this October to honor Dr. Fernández-Hernandoas he receives the Folkman Award in recognition of his accomplishments…and bright future…as a vascular biologist.

Compiled by William R. Huckle,
NAVBO Editor

Kristy Red-Horse, PhD

2020 NAVBO JUDAH FOLKMAN AWARD IN VASCULAR BIOLOGY -
KRISTY RED-HORSE, PH.D., STANFORD UNIVERSITY

The NAVBO Meritorious Awards Committee, the Scientific Advisory Board, and the NAVBO Council announce with pleasure the selection of Kristy Red-Horse, PhD, as the recipient of the 2020 Judah Folkman Award in Vascular Biology. This award recognizes outstanding contributions from vascular biologists who are at mid-career (within fifteen years of their first faculty appointment). Dr. Red-Horse will present her Folkman Award Lecture, titled “Artery Development and Regeneration,” as an online webinar on November 2 at 1:00pm ET. The webinar will be accessible to all NAVBO members.

Dr. Red-Horse received a BA in Microbiology from the University of Arkansas (1999), an MS in Biology from San Francisco State University (2001), and PhD from UC-San Francisco (2005). Following post-doctoral stints in Tumor Biology and Angiogenesis at Genentech and Biochemistry at Stanford University, she joined the faculty of Stanford’s Department of Biology in 2012, rising to the rank of Associate Professor in 2019. Dr. Red-Horse has earned a number of awards and fellowships, including a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the NIH/NHLBI, Terman and Chambers Fellowships, and has been designated a Searle Scholar, a New York Stem Cell Foundation Robertson Investigator, and a Brown Faculty Fellow.

Dr. Red-Horse’s prior and ongoing research is focused in four major areas: molecular mechanisms and cellular lineages in coronary artery development and regeneration; single cell transcriptomics of the coronary vasculature; support of myocardial growth by the coronary endothelium; and transcriptional and mechanical regulation of coronary artery patterning. Her laboratory’s efforts have led to recognition that multiple coronary vessel progenitor sources can compensate for developmental defects and potentially be recruited to effect cardiac repair. Dr. Red-Horse’s pioneering work in single-cell transcriptional analysis has led to key and surprising discoveries on the location, molecular mechanisms, and blood flow-dependence of vessel specification and vein-to-artery conversion. She and members of her lab have published a steady stream of well-received papers in top journals, including Nature, Cell, Development, and the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Writing in support of Dr. Red-Horse’s nomination for the Folkman Award, her professional colleagues note that “…Kristy is already being included in a select group of elite cardiovascular developmental biologists, even with many years less experience as an independent investigator” and that “[h]er career is still in an upward trajectory in the sense that she has a lot more to offer scientifically and otherwise; yet she has already accomplished a tremendous amount.” Moreover, we at NAVBO are presently benefitting from Kristy’s service as a member of the NAVBO Council.

Please join us online with host, Sophie Astrof, to honor Dr. Red-Horse as she receives the Folkman Award in recognition of her accomplishments…and bright future…as a vascular biologist.

Compiled by William R. Huckle,
NAVBO Editor

Anne Eichmann, Ph.D.

2019 NAVBO JUDAH FOLKMAN AWARD IN VASCULAR BIOLOGY - ANNE EICHMANN, PH.D., YALE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

The NAVBO Meritorious Awards Committee, the Scientific Advisory Board, and the NAVBO Council announce with pleasure the selection of Anne Eichmann, Ph.D., as the recipient of the 2019 Judah Folkman Award in Vascular Biology. This award recognizes outstanding contributions from vascular biologists who are at mid-career (within fifteen years of their first faculty appointment). Dr. Eichmann will present her Folkman Award Lecture, titled “Guidance of Vascular Barrier Formation” and receive the award at Vascular Biology 2019 in Pacific Grove, California (October 30, 2019).

Dr. Eichmann completed undergraduate studies in Veterinary Medicine at the Freie Universität, in Berlin and an MSc at the Weizmann Institute in Israel, earning her PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology at the Universite Paris XI, Orsay (1994). Following stints as Research Fellow in the CNRS Institut d’Embryologie in Nogent-sur-Marne, France and Research Director at the Collège de France, she joined the faculty of Medicine at Yale University in 2010. She is currently the Ensign Professor of Medicine (Cardiology), Professor of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, and a member of the Yale Cardiovascular Research Center.

Dr. Eichmann’s laboratory studies the mechanisms that govern cellular guidance and tissue patterning during vascular and lymphatic development, with a focus on “tip cells,” specialized endothelial cells located on the leading edge of growing capillary sprouts. These slowly-proliferating cells appear to serve as guides to vascular patterning, by extending filopodia that explore the tip environment. The endothelial cells that follow behind, termed “stalk cells,” proliferate more rapidly and actively form a capillary lumen capable of sustaining blood flow. Her research findings have been published in top-tier journals, and her lab has earned significant and sustained funding from the NIH. Her list of honors includes an INSERM young investigator award (2002), the Jean Bernard Award from the Medical Research Foundation FRM (2006), and election as a member of EMBO (2013).

Colleagues writing in support of Dr. Eichmann’s nomination for the Folkman Award noted that her work is “…always of the highest quality possible, is highly innovative, contains extraordinary mechanistic depth and breadth, and continually pushes the frontiers of the vascular biology field.” Others offered that Dr. Eichmann “…is a superb colleague and mentor. She has trained a number of young scientists who have gone on to make significant contributions as independent scientists, such as Ferdinand LeNoble, Liz Jones and Bruno L’Arrivee. She is a generous colleague always ready to provide reagents and ideas to other labs. As service to the vascular biology community, she has done more than her share of meeting organization, served on NAVBO Council, and is a frequent reviewer of manuscripts and grants.”

Please join us for VB2019 at Asilomar this October to honor Dr. Eichmann as she receives the Folkman Award in recognition of her accomplishments and bright future as a vascular biologist.

Compiled by William R. Huckle,
NAVBO Editor

Christiana Ruhrberg, Ph.D.

2018 NAVBO JUDAH FOLKMAN AWARD IN VASCULAR BIOLOGY - CHRISTIANA RUHRBERG, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LONDON

The NAVBO Meritorious Awards Committee, the Scientific Advisory Board, and the NAVBO Council announce with pleasure the selection of Christiana Ruhrberg, Ph.D., as the recipient of the 2018 Judah Folkman Award in Vascular Biology. This award recognizes outstanding contributions from vascular biologists who are at mid-career (within fifteen years of their first faculty appointment). Dr. Ruhrberg will present the Folkman Award Lecture and receive the award at Vascular Biology 2018 in Newport, Rhode Island (October 17, 2018).

Dr. Ruhrberg completed BSc/MSc studies in Cell Biology at Justus Liebig University in Germany and received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Imperial College London in 1997 under the direction of Fiona Watt at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. She was named Young Cell Biologist of the Year 1996 by the British Society for Cell Biology for her work on proteins that promote epidermal barrier function. She pursued post-doctoral studies in the laboratories of Robb Krumlauf at the National Institute of Medical Research studying cranial motor neuron development, and then with David Shima at the ICRF to elucidate molecular mechanisms of blood vessel growth, with support from the Medical Research Council and Imperial Cancer Research Fund. She joined the staff of the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London as Principal Research Fellow in 2003, rising to the faculty ranks of Lecturer (2007), Reader (2008), and Professor (2011) of Neuronal and Vascular Development at UCL, where she is a Wellcome Trust Investigator.

Dr. Ruhrberg's research team at UCL seeks to determine how cells of the nervous and vascular systems interact in “co-patterning” during mammalian development and in disease, with the goal of identifying molecular targets for therapeutic intervention in vascular disease. Their experimental approaches combine reverse genetics with tissue culture models to examine how the vascular endothelial growth factor A and class 3 semaphorin proteins convey signals between cells in the brain, retina, heart and lung. Her research, performed in collaboration with some notable investigators from NAVBO and the international vascular communities, has demonstrated that VEGF forms gradients that guide blood vessel growth in developing organs and that Neuropilin 1 has a dual role in VEGF and matrix signalling in the vascularization of the retina. She was the first to demonstrate that VEGF isoforms cooperate during vessel sprouting in the first stage of angiogenesis, and that macrophages act as bridge cells for vessel fusion in the subsequent stage of vessel networking. Further, Dr. Ruhrberg pioneered the mouse hindbrain as a powerful new model for angiogenesis research. To date, she and her associates have published more than 80 papers in the scientific literature, many of which are highly cited, and she has trained >15 doctoral students and postdocs since becoming an independent investigator.

Her award lecture is entitled, "Molecular and cellular mechanisms of blood vessel growth," and will be presented on Wednesday, October 17 at 2:30pm.  Please join us for VB2018 in Newport this October to honor Dr. Ruhrberg as she receives this award in recognition of her accomplishments and bright future as a vascular biologist.

Compiled by William R. Huckle,
NAVBO Editor

Guillermo García-Cardeña, Ph.D.

2017 NAVBO JUDAH FOLKMAN AWARD IN VASCULAR BIOLOGY - GUILLERMO GARCÍA-CARDEÑA, BRIGHAM & WOMEN'S HOSPITAL, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL

The NAVBO Meritorious Awards Committee, the Scientific Advisory Board, and the NAVBO Council announce with pleasure the selection of Guillermo García-Cardeña, Ph.D., as the recipient of the 2017 Judah Folkman Award in Vascular Biology. This award recognizes outstanding contributions from vascular biologists who are at mid-career (within fifteen years of their first faculty appointment). Dr. García-Cardeña will present the Folkman Award Lecture and receive the award at Vascular Biology 2017 in Pacific Grove, California (October 15-19, 2017).

Dr. García-Cardeña received his Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine and Pharmacological Sciences at Yale University in 1997, under the tutelage of Dr. William Sessa. Following post-doctoral studies in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Gimbrone at Harvard Medical School, he joined the faculty of Harvard’s Department of Pathology, rising to the rank of Associate Professor in 2010. He currently holds additional appointments as Scientist in the Center for Excellence in Vascular Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Director of the Laboratory for Systems Mechanobiology in the Center for Excellence in Vascular Biology, Affiliated Faculty Member in the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and Associate Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.

During his doctoral work, Dr. García-Cardeña characterized multiple mechanisms, including covalent modification and subcellular distribution of key proteins, crucial for the regulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase. These studies identified several novel targets for the regulation of NO production in the vascular system. As a postdoctoral trainee, he undertook investigation of endothelial cell responsiveness to various forms of biomechanical perturbation and their functional consequences for endothelial phenotype. These studies involved the development of high-throughput transcriptional profiling platforms to analyze global gene expression patterns in endothelial cells, as well as the creation of novel devices to simulate in vitro the endothelium under shearing blood flow.

As an independent investigator, Dr. García-Cardeña’s laboratory has continued to investigate mechano-activated signaling in the endothelium, focusing on transcriptional elements Kruppel-like factors 2 and 4 as integrators of the response to flow and as potential targets for novel cardioprotective therapeutics. Other research in his lab examines the role of blood flow initiation as a developmental trigger, demonstrating that hemodynamic forces present in the arterial tree are capable of changing venous endothelial specification to an arterial endothelial fate. His research group has begun to use induced-pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) as a tool to better understand endothelial cell plasticity and for modeling human disease. Dr. García-Cardeña has earned strong support from the NIH for his research and has published more than 60 peer-reviewed papers, many in top-tier journals.

Dr. García-Cardeña’s award nominations describe his scientific studies as “impactful and unique” and “paramount in the field as they have been able to integrate environmental forces with differentiation…” and “…have started a subfield in vascular biology.” “Over his short career, Dr. Garcia-Cardeña has been able to effectively bridge multiple fields and provide clear integration between physical forces, transcriptional regulation and cell biology.”

Dr. García-Cardeña’s award lecture is entitled, "Insights into the Mechanobiology of the Endothelium" and will be presented on Wednesday, October 18 at 2:30pm.  Please join us for VB2017 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds this October to honor Dr. García-Cardeña as he receives this award in recognition of his accomplishments and bright future as a vascular biologist.

Compiled by William R. Huckle,
NAVBO Editor

Gabriele Bergers, Ph.D.

2016 NAVBO JUDAH FOLKMAN AWARD IN VASCULAR BIOLOGY - GABRIELE BERGERS, VIB-KU LEUVEN CENTER FOR CANCER BIOLOGY

The NAVBO Meritorious Awards Committee, the Scientific Advisory Board, and the NAVBO Council announce with pleasure the selection of Gabriele Bergers, Ph.D., as the recipient of the 2016 Judah Folkman Award in Vascular Biology. This award recognizes outstanding contributions from vascular biologists who are at mid-career (within fifteen years of their first faculty appointment). Dr. Bergers will present the Folkman Award Lecture and receive the award at the 19th International Vascular Biology Meeting (October 30-November 3, 2016) in Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Bergers received a B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Munich (1988) and M.S. in Biochemistry/Virology at the Max Planck Institute in Martinsried (1989). She completed her Ph.D. in Genetics at the Institute of Molecular Pathology at the University of Vienna (1993), characterizing transcriptional variants in Fos-responsive gene. She relocated to the U.S. in 1994 to pursue postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Dr. Douglas Hanahan at the University of California, San Francisco, where she became interested in tumor angiogenesis and participated in a collaborative project with the lab of the Folkman Award’s namesake. She has remained at UCSF and became an Assistant Professor in the Brain Tumor Research Center and Departments of Neurosurgery in 2001. Dr. Bergers was a Professor in the Departments of Neurosurgery and Anatomy, a Principal Investigator of the Brain Tumor Center, and holds the Neill. H. and Linda S. Brownstein Chair in Brain Tumor Research at UCSF through 2016.  She is now at the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology in Belgium, where she is a Professor in the Departments of Oncology and Neurosurgery.

Dr. Berger’s research concerns the relationship between tumor microenvironment and the angiogenic response, reflecting the complex biochemical and cellular conversations occurring between host and neoplasm. Her lab has made important contributions to our understanding of how VEGF regulates angiogenesis in the special context of solid tumors. In particular, her finding that MMP-9 is capable of releasing VEGF from extracellular matrix in the tumor’s vascular niche has provided a fundamental paradigm in which to understand the “angiogenic switch” as a hallmark of malignant transformation. She has also made important contributions to our understanding of cancer stage-dependent variability in efficacy of anti-angiogenic cancer therapies, as well as the role played by cells of the immune system in promoting tumor neovascularization. In the view of her peers, her work has consistently bridged the realms of detailed molecular biological analysis and in vivo experimentation.

Please join us at IVBM in Boston this fall to honor Dr. Bergers as she receives this well-deserved award.  Dr. Bergers will present the Judah Folkman Lecture entitled, "Reciprocal regulation of the vascular and immune state in distinct tumor niches," on November 3 at the International Vascular Biology Meeting in Boston, MA.

Compiled by William R. Huckle,
NAVBO Editor

Mukesh Jain, M.D.

2015 NAVBO JUDAH FOLKMAN AWARD IN VASCULAR BIOLOGY - MUKESH JAIN, CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY

Dr. Jain will present the Judah Folkman Lecture entitled, "KLFs and vessel wall," on October 21 at Vascular Biology 2015 in Hyannis, MA (Cape Cod).

The NAVBO Meritorious Awards Committee, the Scientific Advisory Board and the NAVBO Council announce with pleasure the selection of Mukesh Jain, M.D., as the recipient of the 2015 Judah Folkman Award in Vascular Biology. This award recognizes outstanding contributions from vascular biologists who are at a mid-career level (within fifteen years of their first faculty appointment). Dr. Jain will present the Folkman Award Lecture and receive the award at the NAVBO Workshops in Vascular Biology 2015 (October 18-22) in Hyannis, Massachusetts.

Dr. Jain earned both his B.S. and M.D. degrees from the University of Buffalo. Following an internal medicine residency at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston and Research Fellowships with Dr. Ed Haber at the Harvard School of Public Health and Dr. Mu-En Lee at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Dr. Jain joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School in 2000. In 2006, he became the Ellery Sedgwick Jr. Chair and Distinguished Scientist at Case Western Reserve University & University Hospitals of Cleveland. He is the Founding Director of the Case Cardiovascular Research Institute and Professor of Medicine at Case Western Reserve.

The Folkman Award recognizes Dr. Jain's contributions to characterizing the Kruppel-like factors (KLFs), transcriptional regulators now recognized to be involved in an extraordinary range of biological processes, stretching from systemic nutrient homeostasis to insulin resistance to myeloid cell differentiation to atherogenesis. As noted by his fellow vascular biologists, Dr. Jain's work has had"...significant implications for our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the initiation and progression of vascular inflammation and cardiovascular myopathies."

In addition to his scientific accomplishments, Dr. Jain has trained and mentored numerous young physician-scientists, a contribution that earned him mentorship awards at both Harvard and Case Western Reserve. Under his tutelage, trainees have been remarkably successful in establishing independent research programs. All writing in support of his nomination for the Folkman Award mention his generosity of spirit as a colleague and mentor, for example noting that "...few very competitive biomedical researchers epitomize the "Folkman" tradition as well as Mukesh. He is not only an outstanding physician-scientist with a consummate love of science and drive to answer important questions in vascular biology, but he is a true gentleman and a fantastic collaborator." Among many examples of Dr. Jain's involvement in his profession, he is past member of the NAVBO Council and President of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. Please join us in Hyannis in October to celebrate Dr. Jain's achievements in vascular biology as the Folkman Award winner.

Compiled by William R. Huckle,
NAVBO Editor

Tatiana Byzova, Ph.D.

2014 NAVBO JUDAH FOLKMAN AWARD IN VASCULAR BIOLOGY - TATIANA V. BYZOVA, CLEVELAND CLINIC

Dr. Byzova will give her talk, "Mechanisms of cellular integration in vasculature," on October 22 at Vascular Biology 2014 in Pacific Grove, CA (on the Monterey Peninsula).

The NAVBO Meritorious Awards Committee and Council announce with pleasure the selection of Tatiana Byzova, Ph.D., as the recipient of the 2014 Judah Folkman Award in Vascular Biology. This award recognizes outstanding contributions from vascular biologists who are at a mid-career level (within fifteen years of their first faculty appointment). Dr. Byzova is Vice-Chair, Department of Molecular Cardiology, and the Robert Canova Endowed Chair in Angiogenesis Research in the Lerner Research Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. She will present the Judah Folkman Award Lecture during Vascular Biology 2014 in Pacific Grove, California, on October 22, 2014.

Dr. Byzova received her Ph.D. in Cell Biology in 1995 at the Institute of Experimental Cardiology, National Cardiology Research Center, Moscow, Russia. In 1996, she began post-doctoral studies in the laboratory of Dr. Edward F. Plow in Molecular Cardiology, Center for Thrombosis and Vascular Biology at Lerner. There she has remained to the present, rising in 2008 to the position of Staff (Full Professor equivalent) in the Departments of Molecular Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine and the Taussig Cancer Center.

Tatiana Byzova has made major contributions to our understanding of vascular biology and mechanisms of angiogenesis. Particularly noteworthy are her studies showing that: crosstalk between VEGF/VEGFR and integrins depends on their formation of a physical complex, that phosphorylation regulates this interaction, and that this complex determines their collective ability to regulate angiogenesis in vivo. In addition, the work of her lab has indicated that different isoforms of Akt activate cell-specific signaling pathways in distinct cell types, including those leading to an angiogenic response of endothelial cells.

In other studies, her lab has showed that the molecular pattern of end products of lipid oxidation, generated during inflammation, is recognized by TLR2 on endothelial cells. This interaction leads to VEGF-independent angiogenesis, a previously unrecognized pathway of angiogenesis. Thus, she established that, along with pathogen- and danger- associated molecular patterns, TLRs sense and respond to oxidation-associated molecular patterns, and TLRs can trigger the responses of endothelial cells to support angiogenesis in vivo. These paradigm-shifting studies have been broadly publicized and are likely to define new directions in angiogenesis research for many years to come. Her research, in the words of one of her nominators, "...epitomizes the spirit of Dr. Folkman."

In addition to attending to her own research interests, Dr. Byzova has generously served her fellow vascular biologists as a Councilor to NAVBO, helped to organize Vasculata in Cleveland, and is the NAVBO liaison to the ATVB Council of the AHA. Please join us at Asilomar for Vascular Biology 2014 to recognize Dr. Byzova's contributions to our field.

Compiled by William R. Huckle,
NAVBO Editor

Dr. Mark Kahn

2013 NAVBO JUDAH FOLKMAN AWARD IN VASCULAR BIOLOGY - MARK KAHN, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

Dr. Klaus, NAVBO President, presents the Judah Folkman Award in Vascular Biology to Dr. Mark Kahn, University of Pennsylvania.  Dr. Heidi Stuhlman, Weill Medical College, introduced Dr. Kahn.

The NAVBO Meritorious Awards Committee, the Scientific Advisory Board and the NAVBO Council announce with pleasure the selection of Mark Kahn, M.D., as the recipient of the 2013 Judah Folkman Award in Vascular Biology.  This award recognizes outstanding contributions from vascular biologists who are at a mid-career level (within fifteen years of their first faculty appointment). Dr. Kahn will present the Folkman Award
Lecture, "Signaling pathways in vascular development and disease," and receive the award at the Award Lectures and Ceremony on Wednesday, October 23 at Vascular Biology 2013 (October 20-24) in Hyannis, Massachusetts.

Dr. Kahn earned both his B.A. and M.D. degrees from Brown University.  Following an internal medicine residency at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, he pursued a series of fellowships, in Medicine at the NHLBI, in clinical cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco, and in cardiology research at UCSF.  He joined the Medicine faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in 1999, rising to the rank of Professor of Medicine in 2009.  He serves also on the cardiology medical staffs of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the associated VA Medical Center.  In addition, he is Director of the CVI Mouse Cardiovascular Physiology Core at UPenn.

The Folkman Award recognizes Dr. Kahn's contributions to our understanding of intercellular signaling mechanisms in the growth of the blood and lymphatic vessels, including novel roles of platelets in vascular development and homeostasis.  He previously has received a variety of honors and research awards, including a Howard Hughes Post-doctoral Fellowship, a Buegher Award for Basic Investigation of Stroke from the American Heart Association, an AHA Young Investigator Award in Thrombosis, and an Established Investigator Award from the AHA.  His laboratory has achieved an excellent level of funding, garnering support from the NIH, the Leducq Foundation, and the AHA.  He has published widely, with authorship on upwards of 60 papers in peer-reviewed journals, and is in steady demand as an invited speaker.  Dr. Kahn also is an active and contributing NAVBO member, serving this year as one of the organizers of the Workshop on Biology of Signaling in the Cardiovascular System, one  of the components of Vascular Biology 2013. Please join us in Hyannis in October both to enjoy the fruits of Dr. Kahn's efforts in putting Vascular Biology 2013 together and to celebrate his achievements in vascular biology as the Folkman Award winner.

by William R. Huckle,
NAVBO Editor

Cam Patterson

2012 NAVBO JUDAH FOLKMAN AWARD IN VASCULAR BIOLOGY - CAM PATTERSON, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA, CHAPEL HILL

Dr. Patterson accepts the 2012 Judah Folkman Award in Vascular Biology from Dr. Klaus Ley (Meritorious Awards Committee Chair and President-Elect) at the NAVBO Workshops in Vascular Biology 2012 in Monterey, CA

At the recent NAVBO meeting in Asilomar, Cam Patterson received the Judah Folkman Award in Vascular Biology. Cam gave a very inspiring talk on the power of translational research and how his own research efforts have led to an incipient product that is now in clinical trials. What is most amazing is that the discovery came in an unexpected area: cancer, not vascular biology.

Cam received his M.D. from Emory, where he also completed his residency in cardiology. After a postdoc with Ed Haber at Harvard, he moved to the University of Texas at Galveston and, in 2000, to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he headed the McAllister Heart Institute for 10 years. In 2005, he became Associate Dean for Health Care Entrepreneurship and Chief of the Division of Cardiology.

When I asked Cam what his proudest achievement was, he did not hesitate a moment: "The 45 training grants I helped my trainees obtain." Over the years, Cam's research covered many areas including the role of ubiquitin ligases in vascular biology.

But the most impactful discovery was the development of an antibody that is currently in phase 1 clinical trials for tumor angiogenesis. The discovery strategy was based on laser capture microdissection of human breast cancer specimens followed by transcriptomic analysis. Then, Cam and his team screened the transcripts for cell surface and secreted proteins and came up with 8 candidates. The most promising target turned out to be SFRP2, a secreted ligand for the Frizzled-5 receptor. The antibody to SFRP2 appears to work in tumors that have become resistant to standard anti-VEGF therapy. Preclinical toxicology tests were successfully conducted in SCID mice bearing human breast cancers, and Cam found that his SFRP2 antibody accumulates in the tumor. Recently, he raised $ 5 million from philanthropists and private donors for a phase I clinical trial.

This amazing story closes the loop from bedside to bench to bedside and emphasizes that discovery is always unexpected. How fitting that Cam received the Folkman award, named after the founding pioneer of angiogenesis research applied to tumor biology. Congratulations!

by Klaus Ley

JANUARY 1, 1942–MARCH 17, 2020
STEPHEN SCHWARTZ AWARD PRESENTED BY NAVBO FOR OUTSTANDING MENTORSHIP

This award will recognize a mentor that has contributed significantly to the successful career of scientists who have trained in their lab; who has served as an exemplary mentor to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and contributed to fostering an environment which facilitates both professional and personal growth.

Past Recipients include:

Name

Coming soon!

THE SPRINGER JUNIOR INVESTIGATOR AWARD IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUPPORT FROM ANGIOGENESIS

Past Recipients include:

Zhen Chen, Ph.D.

2020 SPRINGER JUNIOR INVESTIGATOR AWARD - NAVBO'S AWARD FOR JUNIOR FACULTY

Zhen Chen, Ph.D.
City of Hope

Dr. Chen will presented her talk, Suppression of endothelial AGO1 promotes adipose tissue browning and improves metabolic dysfunction, at Vascular Biology 2020 on Thursday, October 29 at 10:15amET

Bhama Ramkhelawon, Ph.D.

2019 SPRINGER JUNIOR INVESTIGATOR AWARD - NAVBO'S AWARD FOR JUNIOR FACULTY

Bhama Ramkhelawon, Ph.D.
New York University Langone Medical Center

Dr.  Ramkhelawon will present her talk, Lung-derived HMGB1 activates proteolytic activity of arterial macrophages and promotes pathological vascular remodeling, at Vascular Biology 2019 on Wednesday, October 30 at Asilomar in Monterey, CA.

Yi Fan, M.D., Ph.D.

2018 SPRINGER JUNIOR INVESTIGATOR AWARD - NAVBO'S AWARD FOR JUNIOR FACULTY

Yi Fan, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Fan presented his talk, Wnt-mediated endothelial transformation into mesenchymal stem cell-like cells induces chemoresistance in glioblastoma, at Vascular Biology 2018 on Wednesday, October 17 at Gurney's Newport Resort and Marina in Newport, RI.

Babak Razani, M.D., Ph.D.

2017 SPRINGER JUNIOR INVESTIGATOR AWARD - NAVBO'S AWARD FOR JUNIOR FACULTY

Babak Razani, M.D., Ph.D.
Washington University in St. Louis

Dr. Razani presented his talk, Dissecting the impact of dietary protein on macrophage mTOR signaling and atherosclerosis, at Vascular Biology 2017 on Wednesday, October 18 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Monterey, CA.

Stefania Nicoli, Ph.D.

2016 SPRINGER JUNIOR INVESTIGATOR AWARD

Stefania Nicoli, Ph.D.
Yale University

Presented her talk, "Mutagenesis of microRNA genes uncovers trait variance as a unique vascular phenotype that confers stress sensitization" on Thursday, November 3 at the 19th International Vascular Biology Meeting in Boston, MA.

Daniel Greif, Ph.D.

2015 SPRINGER JUNIOR INVESTIGATOR AWARD

Daniel Greif, Ph.D.
Yale University

Presented his talk, "Novel smooth muscle cell progenitors are primed to muscularize in disease" on Wednesday, October 21 at Vascular Biology 2015 in Hyannis, MA.

Jason E. Fish, Ph.D.

2014 SPRINGER JUNIOR INVESTIGATOR AWARD

Jason E. Fish, Ph.D.
University of Toronto

Presented his talk, "Endothelial cells reprogram monocyte inflammatory responses through secretion of microvesicles containing anti-inflammatory microRNAs" on Wednesday, October 22 at Vascular Biology 2014 in Monterey, CA.

Hyung J. Chun, M.D.

2013 SPRINGER JUNIOR INVESTIGATOR AWARD

Hyung J. Chun, M.D.
Yale University School of Medicine

Dr. Chun is congratulated by Dr. Mark Ginsberg. Yung presented his talk, "Transcriptional regulation of microRNAs 424 and 503 by MEF2 and PPAR-gamma in the endothelium: Role in pathogenesis of pulmonary arterial hypertension" on Thursday, October 24 at Vascular Biology 2013 in Hyannis, MA.

Lorin E. Olson, Ph.D.

2012 SPRINGER JUNIOR INVESTIGATOR AWARD:

Lorin E. Olson, Ph.D.
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation

Dr. Olson presented a lecture entitled, "PDGF signaling regulates smooth muscle differentiation and accelerates atherosclerosis," at the NAVBO Workshops in Vascular Biology 2012 on October 18 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA

Dr. Carlos Fernandez-Hernando

2011 MARKED THE INAUGURAL PRESENTATION OF THIS AWARD.

Dr. Carlos Fernandez-Hernando of New York University is congratulated by former mentor, William Sessa. Dr. Fernandez-Hernando presented his talk, "miR-33a/b Contributes to the Regulation of Fatty Acid Metabolism and Insulin Signaling," on Thursday, October 20, 2011 at the NAVBO Workshops in Vascular Biology (Hyannis, MA).