Announcements for 2010

April 28, 2010 (historical)

NIAMS’ Katz Receives Award from Bar-Ilan University’s C.A.I.R. Institute

Dr. Stephen I. Katz with Dr.Joseph Menis

Photo caption (left to right): Bar-Ilan University Rector (Provost) Prof. Joseph Menis with Dr. Katz

NIAMS Director Dr. Stephen I. Katz was awarded the Dr. Tovi Comet-Walerstein Science Award for 2010 by the Cancer, AIDS and Immunology Research (C.A.I.R.) Institute in Bar-Ilan University’s Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences in Ramat Gan, Israel.

The award was established in memory of a medical researcher who succumbed to cancer more than a decade ago at age 38. Following her death, her family created the Dr. Tovi Comet-Walerstein Cancer Research Chair in the C.A.I.R. Institute.

Prof. Uri Nir, Dean of the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, said that this award “enables us not only to honor scientific excellence but also to become directly inspired by the scientific vision of the world’s leading scientists.”

Following the presentation of the award, Dr. Katz delivered the keynote lecture on “The Skin Immune System: An Evolving Story.”

Dr. Katz has been Director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases since August 1995, and is also a Senior Investigator in the Dermatology Branch of the National Cancer Institute. He received his M.D. degree cum laude from Tulane University Medical School, New Orleans; and a Ph.D. degree in immunology from the University of London, England. In 1974, he joined NIH as a senior investigator in the Dermatology Branch of NCI, becoming acting chief in 1977 and chief from 1980-2001. He has focused his studies on immunology and the skin. His research has demonstrated that skin is an important component of the immune system both in its normal function and as a target in immunologically-mediated disease. In addition to studying Langerhans cells and epidermally-derived cytokines, Dr. Katz and his colleagues have added considerable new knowledge about inherited and acquired blistering skin diseases.

“I have received awards before, but this one is special,” said Dr. Katz. “Dr. Comet-Walerstein epitomizes what one should aspire to in becoming a physician. She experienced both sides of the street -- that of being a physician scientist and then, of course, the other side of the street, being a patient. How moving it is that a patient should take on the responsibilities of so many that were afflicted by the same disease that she had…she was an extremely empathetic person,” he said.