At its annual honors and awards banquet this evening, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation will honor researcher Rodger McEver, M.D., with its highest scientific prize and board member Burns Hargis with its Board of Directors Distinguished Service Award.
At the dinner, which will be held at the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club, OMRF will also welcome three new board members: Christy Gaylord Everest of Oklahoma City, Susan Loosen of Okarche and Rebecca Switzer of Norman.
McEver will be the 14th scientist to receive the Edward L. and Thelma Gaylord Prize for Scientific Achievement. Established in 1991 by Edward L. and Thelma Gaylord, OMRF awards the Gaylord Prize for outstanding accomplishment in biomedical research.
McEver, a graduate of Yale University and the University of Chicago Medical School, will receive the honor for his contributions to the field of cardiovascular biology. The program chair for OMRF’s Cardiovascular Biology Research Program, McEver joined OMRF’s scientific staff in 1987.
He discovered the molecule known as P-selectin, which plays a key role in bringing white blood cells to the site of an injury during inflammation. His work, which has important implications for the understanding and treatment of heart disease and blood disorders, has earned him numerous accolades, including a Merit and Career Development Awards from the National Institutes of Health and, in 2001 he was named a Fellow of the American Heart Association.
“Dr. McEver has been a leader in the field of cardiovascular biology, and it’s fitting that he receive OMRF’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D. “Important insights have come from his work, and they’ve given hope to patients with an array of health problems.”
Hargis, president of Oklahoma State University, will be honored with the Board of Directors Distinguished Service Award. A former vice chairman of the Bank of Oklahoma, N.A. and president of the Oklahoma County Bar Association, Hargis for many years hosted the award-winning TV program “Flashpoint.” He was named an OMRF director in 1999 and has served as chair of the board’s finance and audit committee.
Everest is the chairman and chief executive of the Oklahoma Publishing Company. She has an extensive record of community service and civic involvement throughout the state, including formerly chairing the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma.
Loosen is the president and chairman of the board of First Bank of Okarche. A graduate of the University of Kansas, she has served on numerous boards, including boards at Okarche Memorial Hospital, the Oklahoma City Archdiocese and the Center of Family Love.
Switzer is a graduate of Oklahoma City University and spent more than two decades on the gymnastics coaching staff at the University of Oklahoma. In 1988, she was a member of the USA Women’s Gymnastic Olympic Coaching staff. She has served on the boards of Ronald McDonald House and the Sooner Theater.
Also at the meeting, OMRF named four long-time board members Life Directors: Paul Strasbaugh, Edmond, and Ann Alspaugh, Elizabeth Coe and John Green, all of Oklahoma City.
OMRF (omrf.org) is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding and developing more effective treatments for human disease. Chartered in 1946, its scientists focus on such critical research areas as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, lupus and cardiovascular disease.