JCCC scientist honored with prestigious biomedical research award

Tomas Ganz, MD, PhD

Dr. Tomas Ganz, a leading scientist in the effort to uncover the molecular basis of iron homeostasis and its role in disease resistance including cancer, has been awarded the 2014 E. Donnall Thomas Lecture by the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in honor of his groundbreaking research.

The award, named after the Nobel Prize Laureate and past Society president E. Donnall Thomas, M.D., recognizes pioneering research achievements in hematology that have represented a paradigm shift or significant discovery in the field.

Ganz, a member of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, has earned a world-renowned reputation for his pivotal role in the discovery of the protein hepcidin, a key regulator of iron in the human immune system, and continues to lead the way in the ongoing exploration of hepcidin’s effects, regulation, and mechanism of action in iron metabolism.

His diverse, sophisticated and elegant experimental scientific approaches range from molecular analysis of gene and protein regulation in cell lines and transgenic mice, to histopathologic studies and assays of samples from human patients and experimental animals.

“Through his discovery of hepcidin and subsequent study of its mechanism of action, Dr. Ganz has revolutionized the field of iron biology and has transformed the way scientists and clinicians study and treat iron and anemia-related diseases,” said 2014 ASH President Linda J. Burns. “ASH is pleased to be honoring Dr. Ganz for his work that has paved the way for development of new treatments for these disorders.”

As a professor of medicine and pathology at UCLA, Ganz has received several prestigious awards recognizing his leading-edge research including the Marcel Simon Award for excellence in the research of genetic hemochromatosis. In 2006 he was elected to the American Association of Physicians. Ganz is also a past recipient of the UCLA Medical Alumni Association Medical Science Award. For many years he served as an associate editor of Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology.

Dr. Ganz presented his lecture, “Iron, Erythropoiesis, and Host Defense: A Ménage à Trois,” at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, December 8, at the 56th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Francisco.