October 17, 2013

Weill Cornell’s Glimcher awarded Vanderbilt Prize

The 2013 Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science has been awarded to Laurie Glimcher, M.D., Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean and professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

The 2013 Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science has been awarded to Laurie Glimcher, M.D., Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean and professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

Laurie Glimcher, M.D.

Glimcher is internationally known for her contributions to understanding T helper cell development and its relevance to autoimmune, allergic and infectious diseases as well as cancer. She is nationally recognized for her mentorship of women in science.

The prize, established by Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 2006, honors nationally and internationally known women scientists who have “a stellar record of research accomplishments” and who have contributed significantly to the mentorship of other women in science.

Prize winners receive an honorarium, visit Vanderbilt to meet with faculty and deliver a Flexner Discovery Lecture, as well as serve as mentors to women who are pursuing graduate studies in the biomedical sciences at the School of Medicine.

Glimcher, who also is Provost for Medical Affairs at Cornell University, will receive the prize on May 1, 2014, when she is scheduled to give a Flexner Discovery Lecture at 4 p.m. in 208 Light Hall.

“Dr. Glimcher is the recipient of our eighth Vanderbilt Prize,” said Susan Wente, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research and senior associate dean for Biomedical Sciences at Vanderbilt.

“The prize continues the mission of imparting the value Vanderbilt places on discovery research, mentoring, and women scientists, three characteristics which are vital to our continuing leadership as a research institution,” Wente said.

Glimcher earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Radcliffe College and her M.D. from Harvard Medical School. She received postdoctoral training at Harvard and in the Laboratory of Immunology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

She was appointed instructor in Medicine at Harvard in 1982, and promoted to professor of Medicine in 1990. She chaired the Division of Biological Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health, and was an associate member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

Glimcher is particularly well known for her lab’s discovery of the first T helper 1-specific transcription factor, T-bet, and the first transcription factor, XBP-1, known to control differentiation of the B lymphocyte to the antibody-producing plasma cell.

Her lab used T-bet transcription to establish a mouse model for asthma and reported that T-bet deficiency in mice causes ulcerative colitis. She and her colleagues have identified a primary role for XBP-1 in lipogenesis and the pathogenesis of intestinal inflammation in humans.

They also discovered a novel protein, Schnurri-3, that controls adult bone formation and which “have opened new horizons for treatment of osteoporosis,” Weill Cornell colleagues Antonio Gotto Jr., M.D., D.Phil., and Carl Nathan, M.D., wrote in their recommendation letter.

Glimcher is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

She is a former president of the American Association of Immunologists, served on the Albert Lasker Jury Award Committee, and has received numerous other honors including the FASEB (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) Excellence in Science Award.

As for her mentorship of women scientists, Glimcher pioneered programs at Harvard and at NIAID that provide extra technical help for postdoctoral fellows with child care responsibility.

As dean, she took several steps to support junior faculty with children, including establishing Weill Cornell’s first childcare center. She has received national recognition for her mentoring, including the American Association of Immunologists Excellence in Mentoring Award.

For a complete list of Vanderbilt Prize winners and the 2014 nomination form, go to https://medschool.vanderbilt.edu/dean and click on “Vanderbilt Prize.”