OMRF scientist Charles Esmon, Ph.D., is no stranger to accolades, and his most recent award serves as a fitting nod to his decades of groundbreaking contributions in cardiovascular research.
Esmon was recently recognized as a Distinguished Scientist by the American Heart Association at the opening session of its 2014 Scientific Sessions in Chicago, Ill.
The AHA describes award recipients as “a prominent group of scientists and clinicians whose work has importantly advanced our understanding of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.” The Distinguished Scientists award was created in 2003 to honor AHA and American Stroke Association members for “significant, original and sustained scientific contributions that have advanced the association’s mission.” Esmon was one of six awardees in the 2014 class.
“It’s a tremendous honor and one for which I am sincerely grateful,” said Esmon. “I am thankful for all the dedicated scientists who have worked with me over the course of my career who have helped to make this possible.”
Esmon holds the Lloyd Noble Chair in Cardiovascular Research and serves as head of the Coagulation Biology Laboratory at OMRF, where he has been on the scientific staff since 1982.
In the lab, Esmon studies mechanisms that control the process of blood clotting and the links between the controls of blood clotting and inflammation. His work led to the creation of Ceprotin, a therapeutic for patients suffering from a life-threatening protein deficiency.
His recent research efforts have cast new light on how proteins called histones can enter the bloodstream and begin to kill the lining of blood vessels, resulting in uncontrolled internal bleeding. Building on this work, Esmon and a team of collaborators have discovered an antibody that could counter this deadly process, which could open the door to new ways to treat battlefield injuries, gunshot wound victims and others with traumatic injury.
Among his many honors are a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator designation, a MERIT Award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and membership in the National Academy of Sciences.
He received AHA’s 2010 Basic Research Prize for his “historic” contributions to researchers’ understanding of the blood clotting system, as well as the Robert J. and Claire Pasarow Foundation Award in Cardiovascular Research and the ISTH Robert P Grant Medal in 2013. He has authored more than 400 scientific publications and has invented drugs that have received patents and are in development for diagnosis and treatment of vascular diseases and blood clots.
“Oklahoma is blessed to have some very accomplished scientists, and Chuck Esmon may be the best of them,” said OMRF Vice President of Research Paul Kincade, Ph.D. “Again and again, he has made discoveries that really matter and ones that impact human health.”