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Saturday, Sept. 15, 2007

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Anthony S. Fauci Awarded Lasker Award for Public Service

Anthony S. Fauci
Anthony S. Fauci
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Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has been awarded the 2007 Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service for his role in developing two major U.S. public health programs, in AIDS and biodefense. The award will be presented on Friday, September 28th during a luncheon ceremony in New York City.

Dr. Fauci is honored for his role in helping develop the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest public health program in history devoted to a single disease, as well as Project Bioshield, designed to accelerate the research, development, purchase and availability of medical countermeasures against the effects of biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear agents.

“In nearly four decades of service to NIH, Tony Fauci has made innumerable scientific contributions that have improved the health of millions of people in this country and abroad,” says NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. “As a clinician, researcher, and scientific leader, Dr. Fauci has channeled his intellect, compassion, and vision into discoveries and research programs that have transformed medicine and public health.”

Earlier this year, Dr. Fauci received two other major honors: the George M. Kober Medal of the Association of American Physicians for his work in clinical medicine, and the National Medal of Science, for his research into the pathogenesis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease.

Dr. Zerhouni adds, “It is fitting to have Tony recognized with a ‘trifecta’ of awards related to the three fundamental NIH missions: basic research, clinical research, and public service. It is hard to think of anyone more deserving of this award.”

Dr. Fauci’s tenure as NIAID director began in 1984. For nearly 23 years, he has overseen the extensive NIAID research portfolio of basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose and treat infectious and immunologic diseases. The NIAID budget for fiscal year 2007 is approximately $4.4 billion. He has advised several administrations on global HIV/AIDS issues and other emerging disease threats. These issues have also been the subject of his numerous congressional testimonies and briefings.

“It is a remarkable privilege as a physician/scientist to be given the opportunity to help formulate policies and programs that protect and improve global health,” says Dr. Fauci. “I am fortunate to have been in position to help bridge the gap between the biomedical research and policymaking communities, and to assist our leaders in developing programs predicated on the scientific advances made by NIH, our sister agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services, and our many collaborators worldwide.”

In addition to Dr. Fauci’s Lasker award, the 2007 Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research honors long-time NIAID grantee Ralph M. Steinman of Rockefeller University for his discovery of dendritic cells, immune system cells that trigger other components of the immune system to thwart microbial invaders. Further information about the awards and their recipients is available at www.laskerfoundation.org.

The Lasker Awards were first presented in 1946, and are administered by the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation. The late Mary Woodard Lasker is widely recognized for her singular contribution to the growth of the National Institutes of Health and her unflagging commitment to government funding of medical research in the hope of curing diseases. Her support for medical research spanned five decades, during which she was the nation’s foremost citizen-activist on behalf of medical science.

“It remains critical that the medical and public health communities channel the spirit of Mary Lasker and argue cogently for medical research, and for adequate attention and sustained support for the delivery of the fruits of that research to the people who need them most,” Dr. Fauci notes in an invited commentary in the journal Nature Medicine, available online at www.nature.com/nm, beginning Sept. 17, 2007.

Biographical information

Dr. Fauci received his M.D. degree from Cornell University Medical College and then completed an internship and residency at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. He came to NIH in 1968 as a clinical associate in the NIAID Laboratory of Clinical Investigation. In 1974, he became head of the laboratory’s Clinical Physiology Section, and in 1980 was appointed chief of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation (http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/labs/aboutlabs/lir/default.htm), a position he still holds. In 1984, he was named NIAID director.

Dr. Fauci, a pioneer in the field of human immunoregulation, has received acclaim for developing effective therapies for the formerly fatal rheumatological diseases polyarteritis nodosa and Wegener’s granulomatosis. With the recognition of AIDS 26 years ago, he switched his laboratory’s focus to the new disease, and subsequently has made numerous significant contributions to the understanding of AIDS pathogenesis. A ScienceWatch survey indicated that Dr. Fauci was the 13th most-cited scientist in the world in the 20-year period from 1983 to 2002 (http://www.sciencewatch.com/sept-oct2003/sw_sept-oct2003_page2.htm), and he was the world’s 10th most-cited HIV/AIDS researcher from 1996 to 2006 (http://www.esi-topics.com/hiv-aids/interviews/AnthonyFauci.html).

The recipient of 32 honorary doctorates, Dr. Fauci is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Institute of Medicine (Council Member), the American Philosophical Society, and the Royal Danish Academy of Science and Letters, as well as a number of other professional societies including the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the American Association of Immunologists, and the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. He serves on the editorial boards of many scientific journals; as an editor of Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine; and as author, coauthor or editor of more than 1,100 scientific publications, including several textbooks.


NIAID conducts and supports research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at www.niaid.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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Last Updated September 14, 2007