FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hepatitis B Foundation Presents Distinguished Scientist Award 2007 to Scripps Research Institute Professor Dr. Francis V. Chisari for Changing the Way Science Thinks About Hepatitis
DOYLESTOWN, PA (May 3, 2007) –The Hepatitis B Foundation (HBF) held its annual Crystal Ball Gala on Saturday April 28, 2007 at the new Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, which it created to expand and accelerate its research mission. Almost 200 guests and community leaders attended the foundation’s signature fundraising event. The evening was highlighted by a special presentation of its prestigious “Distinguished Scientist Award” to Francis V. Chisari, M.D., Professor and Head of the Division of Experimental Pathology in the Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA. He was honored with the foundation’s highest scientific award in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the science and medicine of hepatitis B.
Dr. Chisari has been a part of every major advance in the understanding of the immunopathology of hepatitis B since the 1980’s. His seminal work in the immuno-pathology of hepatitis B has significantly advanced the current understanding of this serious liver disease and changed the way science thinks about hepatitis. Past recipients of the foundation’s distinguished awards include Nobel Laureate Baruch S. Blumberg, who discovered the hepatitis B virus; National Academy of Sciences members Dr. Jesse Summers and Dr. Harvey Alter; Fellow of the Royal Society Dr. Raymond Dwek; and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“The Hepatitis B Foundation is proud to recognize the accomplishments and commitment of Dr. Frank Chisari whose work is bringing hope to the 400 million people living with chronic hepatitis B worldwide - a liver disease that infects silently and can progress to fatal cirrhosis and liver cancer,” said Timothy M. Block, Ph.D., President of the Hepatitis B Foundation.
Hearing of Dr. Chisari’s remarkable contributions to advancing hepatitis B research, the guests were moved to give him a standing ovation. In accepting the award, Dr. Chisari shared he was humbled and appreciative of being honored by the foundation and would return to his research with new energy in order to live up to the award. He concluded with a reciprocal gesture of appreciation saying, “The Hepatitis B Foundation is making a big impact in the world, and now I understand that a large measure of its success is due to the caring community of friends and supporters who are represented in part by all of you who are here tonight.”
Dr. Chisari is internationally renowned for his pioneering work in the host-virus interactions that determine the outcome of viral infections, using the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and the hepatitis C virus (HCV) as models. He developed the first transgenic mouse models of a human viral pathogen in collaboration with other researchers, and used these models to define the immunological basis of viral hepatitis, whereby he discovered that chronic immune-mediated hepatocellular injury initiates primary liver cancer, or hepatocellular carcinoma.
Dr. Chisari is a member of the National Academy of Sciences; was awarded the Ernst Jung Prize in Medicine, the Rous-Whipple Award of the American Society of Investigative Pathology, and the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. He received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Anatomic Pathology.
For more information about the Hepatitis B Foundation’s Crystal Ball Gala and its distinguished honoree Dr. Francis V. Chisari, visit www.hepb.org or call (215) 489-4900.
About the Hepatitis B Foundation
The Hepatitis B Foundation is the only national nonprofit organization solely dedicated to finding a cure and improving the quality of life for those affected with hepatitis B worldwide through research, education and patient advocacy. It is located in the new Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County, which it created to accelerate its research mission. For more information, please visit www.hepb.org or call (215) 489-4900.