The 1998 ASCI Award: Stanley J. Korsmeyer, MD

The first ASCI Award was presented to Stanley J. Korsmeyer, MD, at the annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Investigation in Washington, D.C., on May 2, 1998, for the identification of key genetic mechanisms that govern cell death and survival.

Dr. Korsmeyer cloned BCL-2 from the t (14;18) chromosomal breakpoint of human follicular lymphoma; his BCL-2 transgenic mice established a new category of oncogenes — regulators of cell death. He identified a large family of proteins, including a partner protein BAX that promotes apoptosis, and characterized their biochemical roles. He further integrated the death pathway by identifying death ligands BAD and BID and their connection with survival factor signaling. His elegant gain and loss of function murine models established the contribution of disordered cell death to immunodeficiency, infertility, degenerative diseases, and cancer. Dr. Korsmeyer’s pioneering observations stimulated an entire field of cell death research and its impact on human disease.

Dr. Korsmeyer, who passed away in March 2005, received numerous awards and recognition for his work.