At its board of directors meeting on Thursday, OMRF honored four scientists for their contributions to research and human health.
Researcher Patrick Gaffney, M.D., received the Edward L. and Thelma Gaylord Prize for Scientific Achievement. The award, named for the late Edward L. Gaylord, who served on OMRF’s board for more than 40 years, and his late wife, Thelma, is OMRF’s highest scientific honor.
Gaffney came to OMRF in 2007 and is a member of the Arthritis and Clinical Immunology Research Program. His research, which includes several international collaborations, has been integral in the discovery of new lupus-related genes and understanding their functions.
“It’s no longer enough to point at a genetic alteration and say, ‘That one’s different. It must be the cause.’ What we strive to do is understand how that change affects other genetic functions and how that leads to lupus,” he said.
Gaffney also works with researchers on extremely rare disease genetics using an emerging technology called “exome sequencing.”
Three other scientific awards were presented to OMRF scientists at the meeting. Linda Thompson, Ph.D., received the Merrick Award for Outstanding Medical Research, Courtney Griffin, Ph.D., received the J. Donald and Patricia Capra Award for Scientific Achievement, and the Fred Jones Award for Scientific Achievement was presented to Lorin Olson, Ph.D.
“OMRF scientists are doing innovative research to advance human health,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D. “Drs. Gaffney, Griffin, Olson and Thompson exemplify a spirit of excellence. The discoveries they make are helping make our world a healthier place.”