The American Society of Hematology Honors Nancy Speck, PhD, and Karl Welte, MD, with 2015 Henry M. Stratton Medal
Published on: July 23, 2015
(WASHINGTON, July 23, 2015) The American Society of
Hematology (ASH) today announced that it will recognize Nancy Speck, PhD, of
the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, and Karl Welte,
MD, of Hannover Medical School, with the 2015 Henry M. Stratton Medal for
their seminal contributions in the areas of basic and clinical/translational
hematology research, respectively.
The Henry M. Stratton Medal is
named after the late Henry Maurice Stratton, co-founder of Grune and
Stratton, the medical publishing house that first published ASH’s journal
Blood. The prize honors two senior investigators whose contributions
to both basic and clinical/translational hematology research are well
recognized and have taken place over a period of several years. Drs. Speck
and Welte will accept their awards at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 8,
during the 57th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition in Orlando.
Dr. Speck, the recipient of the 2015 Henry M.
Stratton Medal for Basic Science, is Professor of Cell and Developmental
Biology at the University of Pennsylvania and Associate Director of Penn’s
Institute for Regenerative Medicine. She co-leads the Hematologic Malignancies
Program at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center and is an Investigator at the
Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute. Over the course of her more than
30-year career, Dr. Speck has made key contributions to the understanding of
developmental hematopoiesis as well as the translation of these findings
into leukemogenesis. Her contributions to the field include the
identification of proteins Runx1 and CBFβ, mutations of which are frequently
found in leukemia. Dr. Speck’s careful biochemical and molecular
characterization of these factors – both before and after linking them to
leukemia – has enabled rapid progress in the understanding of their role
in normal and malignant hematopoiesis.
Dr. Speck earned her PhD in
biochemistry from Northwestern University in 1983 and completed
postdoctoral research fellowships in retroviral pathogenesis and eukaryotic
gene regulation at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and at
MIT. She opened her own laboratory at Dartmouth Medical School in 1989,
progressing from Assistant Professor of Biochemistry to Professor, and
held the James J. Carroll Chair of Oncology. She joined the University of
Pennsylvania in 2008.
Beyond her contributions to basic science, Dr.
Speck is well-known for her commitment to the hematology community and to
the career development of young investigators. She is a dedicated member of
ASH and served as Scientific Program Co-Chair for the 2011 ASH Annual
Meeting and currently serves as a member of the Scientific Committee on
Bone Marrow Failure. In addition to her ASH involvement, Dr. Speck has
served on and chaired study sections at the National Institutes of Health
and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She has published more than 100
Dr. Welte, the recipient of the 2015 Henry M.
Stratton Medal for Clinical/Translational Science, is Senior Professor and
Head of the Department of Molecular Hematopoiesis at Hannover Medical School.
He has devoted his career to the study of neutrophil development and
treatment. Dr. Welte is best known for his groundbreaking work to purify and
assess the biochemical characteristics of granulocyte colony-stimulating
factor (G-CSF) and his work to clone and produce recombinant human G-CSF
(filgrastim). He was involved in the design and performance of the Phase I-III
studies with G-CSF in chemotherapy-induced neutropenias and initiated the
first clinical use of G-CSF in congenital neutropanias in Europe. He has also
made major contributions to the identification of germline mutations
causing congenital neutropenias such as ELANE, HAX1, and
G6PC3, as well as aberrant G-CSF signaling in patients with
congenital neutropenia. Dr. Welte’s studies of the natural history of
leukemia in severe congenital neutropenia have extended to the molecular
pathways of leukemogenesis, helping to pave the way for new treatments for
After earning his medical degree from the Free
University of Berlin in 1975, Dr. Welte completed an internship at City
Hospitals Berlin, a residency in pediatrics at the Free University of
Berlin, and fellowships in both pediatrics and molecular biology at the
University of Frankfurt. In 1981, Dr. Welte completed a fellowship in the
Department of Developmental Hematopoiesis at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer
Center in New York, where he assumed roles as Research Associate in 1983 and
Associate Member and Head of the Laboratory of Cytokine Biology in 1985. Dr.
Welte joined Hannover Medical School in 1987 and became Head of the
Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology in 1996. In 2008 he became
the first Lower Saxony Professor in Hannover, Germany.
Dr. Welte is
a member of ASH, the European Hematology Association, and the German
Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. He is one of only two
pediatricians ever elected to honorary membership in the German Society of
Hematology and Oncology. Dr. Welte is also an elected member of the
German Academy of Sciences and has published more than 300 articles and
“The Society is honored to recognize Drs. Speck and
Welte for their career-long commitment to such cornerstones of hematology
as developmental hematopoiesis and neutrophil development and treatment,”
said ASH President David A. Williams, MD, of Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s
Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and Harvard Medical School. “Their
pioneering work has translated into better understanding of key
hematologic functions and diseases, and ultimately into better outcomes
for patients. Both of these individuals represent the epitome of basic
and translational research into the biology of blood formation,
leukemia, and genetic diseases of the blood. They are both outstanding
researchers and superb mentors. They represent the outstanding
investigators that are ASH members contributing to the frontiers of
research in our field."
The American Society of Hematology
(www.hematology.org) is the
world’s largest professional society concerned with the causes and treatment
of blood disorders. Its mission is to further the understanding,
diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting blood, bone
marrow, and the immunologic, hemostatic, and vascular systems by promoting
research, clinical care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology.
The official journal of ASH is Blood (www.bloodjournal.org),
the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available
weekly in print and online.
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Alicia Davids, American
Society of Hematology