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The American Society of Hematology Honors Charles Mullighan, MD, MBBS (Hons) with the 2016 William Dameshek Prize

The American Society of Hematology will present the 2016 William Dameshek Prize to Charles Mullighan, MBBS (Hons), MD, of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for his leadership in defining the landscape of genetic alterations of acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), which has provided valuable insight into the genetic basis of this disease, and in particular high risk and relapsed ALL in children and adults.

The William Dameshek Prize is awarded to an ASH member under the age of 50 who has made a recent outstanding contribution to the field of hematology. This prize is named after the late William Dameshek, MD, a past president of ASH and the original editor of Blood. ASH President Charles S. Abrams, MD, will present this award to Dr. Mullighan on Tuesday, December 6, during the 58th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Diego, California.

Dr. Mullighan is a member of the Department of Pathology, and the co-leader of the Hematologic Malignancies Program at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where his lab uses genome sequencing and experimental modeling to understand the molecular basis of ALL. Dr. Mullighan has identified new subtypes of this disease, which has led to multiple new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. He has also discovered relationships between certain genetic alterations and relapse. With this work, Dr. Mullighan is leading the charge to develop new targeted therapies to improve patient outcomes, particularly in children and adults with genetically defined subsets of ALL that are associated with poor prognoses. Several of his findings have been incorporated into precision medicine trials of ALL in children and adults in the US and internationally. His studies have served as a model for fellow researchers and pathologists in other areas in hematology, including acute myeloid leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloproliferative neoplasms.

Dr. Mullighan began his career in 1993 after receiving his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from the University of Adelaide in Australia. He completed his internship and residency at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in 1994, and he received advanced training in hematology and hematopathology at the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science and the Royal Adelaide Hospital. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 2008.

Dr. Mullighan is an active member of ASH and currently serves as the chair of the ASH Committee on Scientific Affairs. Dr. Mullighan is also a member of the International Society for Stem Cell Research and the American Association for Cancer Research. He has also served on numerous editorial boards, including Blood, the European Journal of Clinical Investigation, and the Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology, and has published over 150 papers in the last eight years. His most distinguished awards include the Meyenburg Award for Cancer Research, the Society for Pediatric Pathology Lotte Strauss Prize, the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology Ramzi Cotran Young Investigator Award, and Election to the American Society of Clinical Investigation and American Association of Physicians. 

In addition to his vast and impressive portfolio of scientific research and publications, Dr. Mullighan has mentored numerous postdoctoral fellows and pre-doctoral students in the genomic and experimental approaches used in laboratories, many of whom have entered into MD and/or PhD programs and established their own research programs. 

“The Society is honored to recognize Dr. Mullighan with the William Dameshek Prize for his outstanding contributions in the area of acute leukemia, which have already influenced many hematologists-in-training to follow in his footsteps,” said ASH President Charles S. Abrams, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania. “Dr. Mullighan has established himself as a pioneer in the field of cancer genomics and precision medicine through his studies of ALL. I am honored to present him with this award in recognition of his outstanding contributions so early in his career. His work will continue to make a difference in the way we fundamentally understand and treat children and adults with acute leukemia.”

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.

Sara Khalaf, American Society of Hematology
[email protected]; 202-552-4925