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2017 Thomas E. Starzl Prize in Surgery and Immunology

2017 Thomas E. Starzl Prize in Surgery and Immunology

Nominations are now closed for the 2015 and 2016 Thomas E. Starzl Prize in Surgery and Immunology. Check back in the fall/winter of 2015 for information regarding nominations for the 2017 prize.  Inquiries concerning the nomination process should be made to stiresearch@pitt.edu.

2014 Thomas E. Starzl Prize in Surgery and Immunology


The 2014 Thomas E. Starzl Prize in Surgery and Immunology, which honors the University of Pittsburgh’s transplantation icon, Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD, was awarded to Terry B. Strom, MD, Professor of Medicine and of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, Abelson Chief of Transplant Immunology, scientific director of the Transplant Institute, and codirector of the clinical and translational immunology program at Harvard’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Strom is recognized as being at the forefront of transplantation research for more than four decades.

The award presentation and a lecture by Dr. Strom, titled “Taming Inflammation to Create Tolerance,” was held on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. A reception followed in Scaife Hall’s Conference Center.

Dr. Strom has focused his research on the design and development of biologics that foster immune tolerance. Along with the molecular geneticist John Murphy, PhD, he pioneered the development of genetically-engineered immunotoxins, including IL-2-diptheria toxin fusion protein (Ontak®), which is currently used worldwide for the treatment of T cell leukemia and lymphomas, graft versus host disease, and autoimmune disease. Most recently, Dr. Strom generated a novel class of biologicals in which cytokines are genetically fused to immunoglobulin (Ig) molecules.

Dr. Strom’s work has helped to advance our understanding of the mechanisms of rejection and tolerance. In the early 1970s and 1980s, Dr. Strom defined the cytotoxic action of alloreactive lymphocytes and characterized the roles of cytokines in allograft rejection and tolerance induction with special emphasis on IL-2 and its high affinity receptor. In the 1990s and early 2000s, he was at the helm of using gene-knockout mice in transplantation to unravel the unexpected roles of cytokines in regulating the immune response—particularly their role in peripheral T cell apoptosis. Over the last 10 years, Dr. Strom has continued pushing the envelope by elucidating the novel T cell activation and regulation pathways relevant to transplantation, including the functions of TIM molecules in rejection and tolerance.

Dr. Strom has received numerous awards and honors in recognition of his scientific contributions, including the first Established Investigator Award of the American Society of Transplant Physicians, the American Society of Transplantation Distinguished Achievement Award, the Mentoring Award of the American Society of Transplantation, and the Royal College of Physicians Lilly Lecturer.