American Society of Hematology

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.

Nancy Speck - Stratton

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 peer-reviewed articles.

Karl Welte - Stratton

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 the disease.

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 book chapters.

“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.

CONTACT:
Alicia Davids, American Society of Hematology
adavids@hematology.org; 202-552-4925

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