Stephen C. Jameson to receive 2011 Frederick W. Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology
NEW YORK, NY – September 8, 2011 – The Cancer Research Institute, Inc. (CRI), a U.S. nonprofit organization established in 1953 to advance the science of tumor immunology and drive the discovery of new cancer immunotherapies, announced today that Stephen C. Jameson, Ph.D., professor of laboratory medicine and pathology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, will receive the 2011 Frederick W. Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology. The Alt Award is presented annually to a former postdoctoral fellow of the Cancer Research Institute or of the Irvington Institute for Immunological Research, which merged with CRI in 2007, in recognition of outstanding success in academia or industry for research with the potential to have a major impact on immunology.
"For forty years, CRI’s postdoctoral fellowship program has supported the training of highly promising young investigators who have the potential to make novel and important contributions to our understanding of the immune system and how it protects the body from disease," says Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D., chief executive officer and director of scientific affairs at CRI. "Dr. Jameson and his work exemplify the kind of scientific excellence and creativity that we aim to foster through our grant programs, and we are proud to present him with the 2011 Alt Award in recognition of his many contributions."
Dr. Jameson’s research focuses on the factors that regulate the activation and development of a type of immune cell called a T cell, especially during homeostasis, a state in which T cells remain relatively idle in the absence of activating signals. Specifically, Dr. Jameson’s work has shed light on a process called homeostatic proliferation, in which unactivated T cells begin to multiply and develop into cells with properties that are similar to activated, “memory-like” T cells. This process can occur in response to low levels of T cells, or lymphopenia. Dr. Jameson has identified a number of immune molecules that are involved in regulating this process and has worked to characterize the function of these memory-like cells in response to pathogens. Because lymphopenia is a common side effect of some therapies for cancer, such as chemotherapy and radiation, these studies have important implications for cancer treatment, as well as for our fundamental understanding of immune regulation and maintenance.
Dr. Jameson received his Ph.D. in immunology from Cambridge University in Cambridge, England. He received a CRI fellowship award in 1988 to support his postdoctoral training with Nicholas R.J. Gascoigne, Ph.D. (CRI Fellow, 1983-1985) at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in La Jolla, CA. He then worked with Michael J. Bevan, Ph.D., as a senior fellow in the department of immunology at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. Dr. Jameson joined the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1995 as an assistant professor in the department of laboratory medicine. He was promoted to associate professor in 2001 and to professor in 2006. Since 1996, Dr. Jameson has also been a member of the University of Minnesota Cancer Center.
The Cancer Research Institute annually bestows on average twenty-five fellowship awards totaling approximately $4.1 million. To date, CRI’s fellowship program has supported 1,210 young research scientists, many of whom have since gone on to become leaders in the fields of immunology and tumor immunology.
Dr. Jameson will receive the 2011 Alt Award at CRI’s 25th Annual Awards Dinner on October 3, 2011, at 583 Park Avenue in New York City. Also presented at the Dinner will be the 2011 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology to Philip D. Greenberg, M.D., and Steven A. Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., for pioneering research on adoptive T cell therapy for cancer, and the 2011 Oliver R. Grace Award for Distinguished Service in Advancing Cancer Research to Mitchell H. Gold, M.D., president and CEO of Dendreon Corporation, and to celebrated film and television producer Laura Ziskin, who will receive the award posthumously. 2011 marks the first year that all three awards will be presented at the same event.
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About the Frederick W. Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology
The Frederick W. Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology is presented annually to a former postdoctoral fellow of the Cancer Research Institute in recognition of outstanding success in academia or industry for research that may have a potentially major impact on immunology. The award is named after Dr. Frederick W. Alt, co-chief of molecular medicine and the Charles A. Janeway Professor of Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, MA, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor of genetics at the Harvard Medical School / Immune Disease Institute in Boston, MA. Dr. Alt is a member of the Cancer Research Institute Scientific Advisory Council who also served for many years as chair of the Postdoctoral Fellowship Committee of the Irvington Institute for Immunological Research, an organization that merged with the Cancer Research Institute in 2007. For more than 30 years, Dr. Alt has studied how instability within the genome leads to cancer and has worked to uncover the cellular mechanisms that normally suppress this process. His discoveries have led to a greater understanding of the ways that cancer develops, and they hold promise for finding ways to control the disease.