January 17, 2012
Semenza gets American Society for Clinical Investigation award
Gregg L. Semenza, the C. Michael Armstrong Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins, is one of two recipients of this year’s Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award, given by the American Society for Clinical Investigation for their “contributions to the molecular understanding of cellular oxygen sensing and cellular adaptation to hypoxia.” Semenza and his co-recipient, William G. Kaelin Jr., of Harvard Medical School, will share the $10,000 honorarium and present the Korsmeyer Lecture at the 2012 joint meeting of the ASCI and the Association of American Physicians, to be held April 27 to 29, in Chicago.
Semenza, a pediatrician and geneticist, discovered and characterized hypoxia inducible factor 1 alpha, or HIF-1alpha, a gene that encodes a protein that senses oxygen levels in cells. In 1995 he and his team purified and isolated the gene, and they since have discovered major roles for HIF proteins in organismal development and cellular homeostasis. His work showed that HIFs serve as master regulators of the cellular oxygen response by turning on genes that help cells adapt to changes in oxygen levels. Semenza’s team has since been at the forefront of translational studies to augment HIF for conditions that require increased oxygen and blood flow, including cardiovascular diseases, wound healing and organ transplantation, as well as studies of HIF inhibitors to decrease oxygen and blood flow in conditions including cancer, ocular neovascularization and pulmonary hypertension.
At Johns Hopkins, Semenza is also director of the Vascular Program in the Institute for Cell Engineering; a member of the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine; a professor in the departments of Pediatrics, Medicine, Oncology, Radiation Oncology and Biological Chemistry; and an affiliate of the Institute for NanoBioTechnology. He is a founding fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics and was elected in 2008 to the Association of American Physicians and the National Academy of Sciences and in 1995 to the American Society for Clinical Investigation.
He first came to Johns Hopkins as a postdoctoral fellow in 1986 and joined the faculty in 1990.