OMRF honored three scientists and added a new board member at its annual spring board meeting and honors celebration Tuesday.
Researcher John Harley, M.D., Ph.D., was awarded the Edward L. and Thelma Gaylord Prize for Scientific Achievement. OMRF named Rodger McEver, M.D., as the Alvin Chang Chair in Cardiovascular Biology and Lijun Xia, M.D, Ph.D., as the Merrick Foundation Distinguished Scientist. Bill Cameron also joined OMRF’s board of directors.
Harley received the Gaylord Prize, OMRF’s highest scientific honor. The award is named for the late Edward L. Gaylord, who served on OMRF’s board for more than 40 years, and his late wife, Thelma.
Harley was honored for groundbreaking research on the genetics of lupus, an autoimmune disease that affects as many as 2 million Americans and 15 million people worldwide. In 2008, Harley spearheaded a major international research effort that identified 13 genes linked to lupus.
“What sets Dr. Harley apart is his unrelenting pursuit of not only a better understanding of lupus, but of ways to improve the lives of patients suffering from the disease,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D. “He has made a major impact on his field, and in the process he has established OMRF as one of the world leaders in lupus research.”
OMRF also named Rodger McEver, M.D., the Alvin Chang Chair in Cardiovascular Biology. The chair was established by OMRF researcher Fletcher B. Taylor, M.D., in honor of his longtime senior research assistant, who died in 2003. McEver, who heads OMRF’s Cardiovascular Biology Research Program, studies how circulating blood cells attach to blood vessel surfaces at sites of tissue injury or infection.
Lijun Xia, M.D., Ph.D., was named the Merrick Foundation Distinguished Scientist, an endowed position established by Elizabeth Merrick Coe through the Merrick Foundation of Ardmore. Xia, who joined OMRF’s scientific staff in 2002, is a cardiovascular biologist whose research centers on blood vessel development.
Finally, at the meeting, OMRF named Bill Cameron to its board of directors. Cameron is president, chairman and chief executive officer of American Fidelity Assurance Company.