The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation honored four scientists and announced three new members to its board of directors during this week’s spring board meeting.
Benjamin Miller, Ph.D., received OMRF’s top award, the Edward L. & Thelma Gaylord Prize for Scientific Excellence. Miller, an internationally recognized leader in aging research, joined OMRF in 2018 and became chair of its Aging and Metabolism Research Program this year. His current work focuses on whether metformin, the world’s most prescribed diabetes drug, is effective at slowing aging.
The Merrick Award for Outstanding Research was presented to Hal Scofield, M.D. An immunologist and endocrinologist, Scofield studies autoimmune disease. Also the associate chief of staff for the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center, he is interested in understanding why autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are more prevalent among people with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sathish Srinivasan, Ph.D., received the J. Donald & Patricia H. Capra Award for Scientific Achievement. Srinivasan, who joined OMRF in 2013, focuses on the lymphatic system and hopes to understand lymphedema at the molecular level. Lymphedema is a chronic and potentially dangerous condition marked by painful swelling that results when lymphatic vessels stop functioning correctly.
The Fred Jones Award for Scientific Achievement was given to Christopher Lessard, Ph.D. Lessard’s OMRF lab seeks to identify genes associated with Sjögren’s disease, an autoimmune condition in which immune cells attack moisture-producing glands, causing painful dry eyes and mouth.
“Our scientists are on the leading edge of life-changing research,” said OMRF Vice President of Research Courtney Griffin, Ph.D. “Each of these honorees exemplifies OMRF’s spirit of excellence. Their discoveries will help people everywhere live longer, healthier lives.”
Also during the meeting, the nonprofit biomedical foundation welcomed new board members Lisa Dillingham of Enid; Mautra Jones, Ed.D., of Oklahoma City; and Meg Salyer, also of Oklahoma City.
OMRF honored the following board members with 35 years of service: Sharon Bell of Tulsa, Board Chair Len Cason of Oklahoma City, Hiram Champlin of Dallas, David Rainbolt of Oklahoma City and the Hon. Steven Taylor of McAlester.
Additionally, William Hawley, M.D., a board member since 2005, received OMRF’s Distinguished Service Award.
“OMRF’s board members are in a class of their own. Their dedication to supporting biomedical research in Oklahoma changes lives,” said OMRF President Andrew Weyrich, Ph.D. “I’m grateful for their service and support of our scientists’ work to advance human health.”