PHILADELPHIA – Haig H. Kazazian, Jr., M.D., Seymour Gray Professor of Molecular Medicine in Genetics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, received the American Society of Human Genetics’ (ASHG) Allan Award at the Society’s 58th Annual Meeting, which was held this month in Philadelphia.
Image courtesy of the ASHG 2008 Official Photographer, Jim McWilliams
Click on thumbnail
to view full-size image
The Allan Award recognizes substantial and far-reaching scientific contributions to human genetics, carried out over a lifetime of scientific inquiry and productivity. One of ASHG’s longest-standing awards, the Allan Award was established in 1961 in memory of William Allan, who was one of the first American physicians to conduct extensive research in human genetics.
“I feel incredibly grateful and proud to be named as the recipient of this year’s Allan Award,” says Kazazian. “Receiving this prestigious acknowledgement from my colleagues in the human genetics field is a tremendous honor.”
Throughout his career as a genetic scientist, Dr. Kazazian has made numerous seminal contributions in understanding and deciphering mechanisms that cause mutations leading to human disease. One such mechanism that he discovered is called a transposable element, or “jumping gene,” which is a segment of DNA that can move around to different positions in the genome of a single cell and cause mutations.
In his lifetime of scientific discoveries, Dr. Kazazian’s revolutionary research has had a significant impact on unraveling the genetic causes of human disease. His discoveries have benefited the public health by informing the creation of new and improved methods for diagnosing and treating genetic conditions.
Furthermore, Dr. Kazazian was also named as this year’s Allan Award recipient because of his active involvement in training and mentoring the next generation of basic science and clinical human genetics researchers. Dr. Kazazian’s exemplary efforts in this area have earned him an impressive record of former trainees who have gone on to become outstanding genetic scientists and academicians at the top medical schools throughout the world. Seven of his former students were previous recipients of ASHG Student Awards.
Dr. Kazazian received a $10,000 prize and an engraved medal. Immediately after receiving his award, Dr. Kazazian delivered the Allan Award Address. In his presentation, “On Jumping Fields and ‘Jumping Genes,’” Dr. Kazazian discussed two of the major discoveries that he has had in his career. First, he found that because of linkage disequilibrium, there is an association of chromosome haplotypes with disease-causing mutations. This linkage disequilibrium can be very helpful in characterizing the mutations in any single-gene disorder. His second discovery was that transposable elements are active in present-day human beings and when they "jump" they can cause disease. A manuscript of the 2008 Allan Award Address will be published in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics (AJHG).
PENN Medicine is a $3.6 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.
Penn's School of Medicine is currently ranked #4 in the nation in U.S.News & World Report's survey of top research-oriented medical schools; and, according to most recent data from the National Institutes of Health, received over $379 million in NIH research funds in the 2006 fiscal year. Supporting 1,700 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) includes its flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, rated one of the nation’s top ten “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S.News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. In addition UPHS includes a primary-care provider network; a faculty practice plan; home care, hospice, and nursing home; three multispecialty satellite facilities; as well as the Penn Medicine Rittenhouse campus, which offers comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation facilities and outpatient services in multiple specialties.
Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.
The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.
Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.