The American Society of Hematology Honors Richard Aster, MD, with the Wallace H. Coulter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hematology
Published on: July 12, 2019
(WASHINGTON, July 12, 2019)
– The American Society of Hematology (ASH) will recognize Richard Aster, MD, of
the Medical College of Wisconsin and Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin in
Milwaukee with the 2019 Wallace H. Coulter Award for Lifetime Achievement in
Hematology. Dr. Aster will be honored for his significant contributions to
hematology through research, mentorship, and education throughout his 62-year career.
“I am humbled and deeply grateful to be recognized by ASH
for the Wallace H. Coulter Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Dr. Aster. “I have
enjoyed every minute of this long journey, and I am hopeful that my
longer term legacy will reflect research findings that improve the care of
patients with hematologic disorders.”
The Wallace H. Coulter
Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hematology, the Society’s highest honor, is
named after the late Wallace Coulter, a prolific inventor and engineer. He is
best known for developing the Coulter Principle, which revolutionized the use
of basic blood tests to screen for disease by making it possible to count and
size blood cells as they flow through an aperture. This award commemorates Mr.
Coulter’s innovative spirit, visionary leadership, and entrepreneurship, and is
bestowed on an individual who has demonstrated lifetime achievement and
leadership in education, research, mentoring, and practice. ASH President Roy
Silverstein, MD, of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee will present
this award to Dr. Aster on Sunday, December 8, during the 61st ASH Annual
Meeting and Exposition in Orlando.
Dr. Aster is celebrated for
his contributions to the understanding of immune diseases that affect blood
cells, particularly those involving platelets. He has published over 390
peer-reviewed articles and reviews that focus on drug-induced thrombocytopenia
and other hematologic conditions. Dr. Aster and his team developed techniques
that have become clinical standards for the diagnosis of immune thrombocytopenia and
More broadly, Dr. Aster’s
work has led to improvements in the preparation and storage of platelets for transfusion,
platelet matching for patients immunized against platelet antigens, and recruitment
of unrelated bone marrow donors. His ongoing work continues to inspire investigators and
inform clinicians. He has also mentored numerous trainees and junior faculty
Dr. Aster received his undergraduate
and medical degrees from the University of Michigan. He pursued an internship
and medical residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and continued his
training at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National
Institutes of Health, where he discovered his interest in hematology.
Subsequently, at the Thorndike Memorial Laboratory at Boston City Hospital, he made
the first of his many contributions to hematology when he analyzed the
distribution of platelets in the spleen and blood circulation of patients with
liver disease. Dr. Aster began working at the Versiti
Blood Center of Wisconsin in 1970, and since then has helped develop the center
into a global reference laboratory, a renowned research institution and helped
set the stage for it to become a provider of blood services to the Midwest.
Dr. Aster has authored more
than 50 papers in Blood, ASH’s flagship journal, as well as a dozen manuscripts in the New England Journal of
Medicine. In 2012, he was the recipient of the prestigious Henry M.
Stratton Medal from ASH, and he has received numerous accolades from the
American Association of Blood Banks.
“ASH believes that Dr.
Aster embodies many of the attributes of Wallace Coulter, such as his love of
investigation, creativity, tenacity and generosity,” said Dr. Silverstein. “Dr.
Aster exhibits a genuine passion for hematology and has set a high bar for
excellence in research, mentorship, and patient care.”
The American Society of
Hematology (ASH) (www.hematology.org) is the world’s largest professional
society of hematologists dedicated to furthering the understanding, diagnosis,
treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting the blood. For 60 years, the
Society has led the development of hematology as a discipline by promoting
research, patient care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology. ASH
publishes Blood (www.bloodjournal.org), the most cited
peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available weekly in print and
online, as well as the newly launched, online, peer-reviewed open-access
journal, Blood Advances (www.bloodadvances.org).
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Sara Khalaf, American Society of Hematology