February 14, 2011

Johns Hopkins’ Andrew Ewald honored by anatomy society

Andrew Ewald, who studies how cells build organs and how these same cellular processes can contribute to breast cancer metastasis, will receive the American Association of Anatomists’ 2011 Morphological Sciences Award for his “outstanding contributions to the field of epithelial morphogenesis.” He will present an award lecture at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Anatomists on Sunday, April 10, in Washington, D.C.

“This is a real honor,” said Ewald, an assistant professor of cell biology at Johns Hopkins and a member of both the Johns Hopkins Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences’ Center for Cell Dynamics and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Breast Cancer Program. “This award serves to recognize the work I have done in the past but also serves as a great encouragement and validation that we are headed in the right direction. The work recognized in this award could never have been accomplished without the mentoring I received and collaborations I developed during my training in the Fraser Lab at Caltech and the Werb Lab at UCSF, and now the terrific work of my own students and fellows.”

The Ewald Lab uses advanced time-lapse microscopy and molecular genetics to study the normal development of tissues, with a primary focus on the mammary gland. The team is trying to understand the cellular and molecular processes that enable normal epithelial cells to progress to invasive and eventually metastatic breast cancer.

“Andy’s elegant studies provide insights to important developmental processes and have clear clinical implications,” said Peter Devreotes, the Isaac Morris and Lucille Elizabeth Hay Professor and director of Cell Biology at Johns Hopkins. “And Andy clearly will be a major force going forward with his dedication to mammary gland morphogenesis and breast cancer research.”

“I think the impact of Andy’s work is going to be really enormous,” said Denise Montell, director of the IBBS Center for Cell Dynamics. “He is right at the interface of basic and translational research. This is a really exciting opportunity to build a bridge between the two, and Andy is the perfect person to do this.”

Ewald joined the faculty at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2008 following postdoctoral work with Zena Werb in mammary biology and cancer at the University of California, San Francisco. He received his bachelor’s degree in physics with honors from Haverford College in 1997 and his doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biophysics in 2003 for work done with Scott Fraser at the California Institute of Technology.