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Pioneering Researchers Recognized for Scientific Achievements in Gene and Cell Therapy
Date:5/10/2013

Milwaukee, WI (PRWEB) May 10, 2013

The American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT) is honored to recognize Dr. Sonia Skarlatos, PhD, and Dr. Catherine McKeon, PhD as the recipients of the Distinguished Service Award at the Society’s 16th Annual Meeting. This award recognizes an ASGCT member or group that has consistently fostered and enhanced the field of genetic and cellular therapy. The award presentation will begin on Friday, May 17th, at 8:00am in Ballroom E-J at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

Dr. Skarlatos, the Deputy Director of the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences with National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is credited for her development in various educational programming designed to support gene and cell therapy investigators as well as ensuring certified good manufacturing practices (GMP) grade vectors are available to researchers. Dr. Skarlatos was also instrumental in the conception and implementation of gene therapy programming within the NHLBI.

Dr. McKeon serves as the Senior Advisor for Genetic Research at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Dr. McKeon organized one of the first Requests for Application of research centered on gene transfer and gene therapy. Her participation in gene therapy symposia during the 1990’s would help to form ASGCT. Dr. McKeon has also been significantly involved in educational speaking events focused on assisting young investigators in obtaining funding to continue their research.

"Both Sonia Skarlatos and Catherine McKeon have played vital roles in catalyzing the difficult but eventually successful evolution of gene therapy from interesting new science with great potential to a remarkably successful field of clinical medicine. They have become the two most essential intermediaries in the scientific and translation conversation between the ASGCT and the NIH. With one foot at the NIH and another in the ASGCT, Drs. Skarlatos and McKeon have coalesced the programs in the two institutions and have worked enthusiastically and tirelessly to bring the dream of gene therapy to reality,” said Dr. Theodore M. Friedmann, past President of ASGCT and professor at the University of San Diego School of Medicine.

The American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT) is a professional nonprofit medical and scientific organization dedicated to the understanding, development and application of genetic and cellular therapies and the promotion of professional and public education in the field. For more information on ASGCT, visit its website, http://www.asgct.org.

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