BOSTON -- Terry B. Strom, MD, director of the Division of Immunology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Scientific Director of BIDMC’s Transplant Center, received the 2006 Homer W. Smith Award from the American Society of Nephrology at their annual meeting last month in San Diego. Established in 1964, the award is presented annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions which fundamentally affect the science of nephrology.
"This award recognizes one of the major intellectual forces in renal physiology," says ASN President William Henrich, MD, FASN. "[Smith’s] use of comparative approaches to explain normal human physiology stands as a model for students of biology and scientists attempting to unravel the mysteries of normal and disordered renal function. This award is in recognition of those who follow in his footsteps and contribute to our understanding of how the kidney functions normally and in disease states."
In a career spanning more than 30 years, Strom has made critically important contributions to both nephrology and transplantation biology through his study of immune tolerance – the immune system’s ability to recognize and "tolerate" the body’s own cells and molecules in order to prevent organ rejection, a serious problem facing kidney transplant patients.
"The BIDMC Transplant Center’s immunology research program enjoys an international reputation for excellence in both laboratory and clinical innovation," says BIDMC Chief Academic Officer Jeffrey S. Flier, MD. "Under the scientific leadership of Terry Strom, the Center has made pivotal contributions in understanding the biology of immune cells and tolerance. Terry is one of the field’s leading physician-scientists and his work is a classic example of bench-to-bedside research."
Since the first successful kidney transplant was performed in the U.S. more than 60 years ago, transplant patients and their doctors have been faced with the vexing problem of organ rejection, the body’s natural immune response when faced with a "foreign invader." Through his work studying activated immune T-cells, Strom has been a leader in developing new approaches to overcome rejection without the use of highly toxic immunosuppressive drugs.
Beginning with basic studies of lymphocyte growth and development, Strom identified and characterized T-cell growth factors, produced reagents to block the action of these growth factors, studied them in experimental small animal models, evaluated them in primates, and participated in clinical trials.
His most recent work has focused on the influence of inflammation on the texture of transplant rejection and autoimmunity and on investigation of a family of T-cell proteins known as TIM (T-cell immunoglobulin Mucin domain), which serve as "checkpoints" for the survival or activation of T-cell subsets. To date, these findings have been published in the journals Nature, Nature Immunology and the Journal of Experimental Medicine.
A graduate of the University of Illinois School of Medicine, Strom went on to receive training in medicine at the University of Illinois Hospitals, at the former Beth Israel Hospital in Boston and at Boston’s Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, where he later became medical director of the hospital’s kidney transplant program. Strom is currently Professor of Medicine and Surgery at Harvard Medical School, where he has been teaching for more than three decades.
Throughout his career, Strom has contributed to more than 600 publications and has been honored with numerous awards including the Lilly Lectureship of the Royal College of Physicians (London), the 1997 Sandoz Transplant Established Investigator Award of the American Society of Transplant Physicians, and the 2001 Roche American Society of Transplantation Distinguished Achievement Award. A member of more than 15 professonal societies, Strom presently serves as a Councilor for the Cell Transplant Society. He is a past-president of the American Society of Transplantation, the Clinical Immunology Society and Councilor of the International Society of Nephrology.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School and ranks third among independent hospitals nationwide in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit www.bidmc.harvard.edu.
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