The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research has selected Daniel Kastner, MD, PhD, the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) scientific director, as the seventh awardee of the Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine. The prize is awarded annually through the Feinstein Institute’s peer-reviewed, open-access journal, Molecular Medicine, and includes a $50,000 award that will be presented to Dr. Kastner on June 4 at the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) in Manhattan.
The Ross Prize is made possible by the generosity of Feinstein Institute board members Robin and Jack Ross. It is awarded to scientists who have made a demonstrable impact in the understanding of human diseases pathogenesis and/or treatment, and who hold significant promise for making even greater contributions to the general field of molecular medicine. Dr. Kastner is being recognized for his discovery of genetic and genomic strategies to further explain the molecular basis and treatment of autoinflammatory diseases.
“I am honored to be recognized and added to the line of Ross Prize recipients who made an impact on molecular medicine,” said Dr. Kastner. “I hope my research will continue to have impact and lead to innovative treatments for autoinflammatory diseases.”
After a brief award presentation, a symposium will be held during which Dr. Kastner will discuss his research along with Luke A.J. O’Neill, PhD, from Trinity College Dublin, Yanick J. Crow, PhD, from The University of Edinburgh, Zhijian “James” Chen, PhD, from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who will discuss their latest research in inflammation.
“Dr. Kastner’s research has revolutionized our understanding of the immune system’s role in disease,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute and editor emeritus of Molecular Medicine. “His work on patients with disorders of inflammation has created new fields of medicine and given new lives to people who suffered from previously untreatable conditions.”
Dr. Kastner has been at the NIH since 1985 where he served as Clinical Director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the NIH’s first Deputy Director for Intramural Clinical Research, and since 2010, Scientific Director of the Division of Intramural Research at NHGRI.
Focusing on research that uses genetic and genomic approaches to understand inherited inflammation disorders, Dr. Kastner's laboratory has identified the gene mutated in familial Mediterranean fever by positional cloning, discovered the genetic basis for a second recurrent fever syndrome named TRAPS (TNF receptor-associated periodic syndrome), and made seminal genetic discoveries that establish other distinct illnesses as disorders of the IL-1 pathway, which include a group of cytokines that play pivotal roles in the regulation of immune and inflammatory responses to infection. His lab recently used genomic approaches in genetically complex disorders, such as Behçet's disease and continues to maintain an active clinical research program. His group also proposed the now widely accepted concept of autoinflammatory disease to denote disorders of innate immunity. Dr. Kastner has earned a number of awards and honors, including election to the National Academy of Sciences in 2010 and to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in 2012.
To learn more about the Ross Prize celebration and symposium, and to register for the event, please visit nyas.org/RossPrize2019. If you would like to nominate a candidate for the 2020 Ross Prize, please make a submission here.