The Joanne Levy, MD, Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement is given to the current ASH Scholar with the highest scoring abstract for the ASH annual meeting as determined by the appointed abstract reviewers. ASH is honored to offer this award, made possible by the Levy family to continue the legacy of their daughter Joanne, a past ASH Scholar Award recipient and distinguished Society member who passed away in 2004. Dr. Levy graduated from Harvard Medical School and went on to receive many prestigious awards and honors before receiving an ASH Junior Faculty Scholar Award in 2000 for research on the genetic regulation of iron metabolism at Children’s Hospital Boston.
This year’s winner is Simón Méndez-Ferrer, PhD, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Dr. Méndez-Ferrer received his undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Seville, Spain, where he then joined the Department of Medical Physiology and Biophysics to pursue his PhD under the supervision of Dr. José López Barneo and Dr. Juan José Toledo-Aral. In November 2006, Dr. Méndez-Ferrer joined the laboratory of Dr. Paul S. Frenette, a 1999 ASH Scholar, as a postdoctoral fellow.
His research has focused on the regulation of the hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) bone marrow (BM) niche by the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). His studies, published in Nature, demonstrated that HSCs do not circulate steadily or randomly under homeostasis, but rather follow a physiologically regulated rhythmic release. Circadian HSC trafficking is orchestrated in the central nervous system (CNS) by core genes of the molecular clock that regulate HSC attraction to their BM niche by rhythmic secretion of norepinephrine from nerve terminals, activation of the b3-adrenergic receptor, degradation of Sp1, and down-regulation of Cxcl12. These studies showed for the first time that the CNS directly regulates the function of a stem cell niche in peripheral tissues and suggested significantly higher yields if HSCs were harvested from the blood at the acrophase.
Dr. Méndez-Ferrer was recently appointed assistant professor at the Tisch Cancer Institute, Department of Medicine, at Mount Sinai. His recent studies have identified, using nestin expression, the cells targeted by the SNS in the BM regulating HSC traffic as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), suggesting a heterotypic association of HSC-MSCs in the BM niche. In both 2007 and 2008, he was honored with the ASH Merit Award for his research. Dr. Méndez-Ferrer’s abstract, “Coordinated Regulation of Hematopoietic and Mesenchymal Stem Cells in a Bone Marrow Niche” will be presented during today’s Plenary Session at 2:15 p.m. in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Hall F.
back to top