The Seymour and Vivian Milstein Award for Excellence in Interferon and Cytokine Research, represents the pinnacle of scientific achievement in interferon and cytokine research. This Award is bestowed upon a leading biomedical research scientist who has made outstanding contributions to interferon and cytokine research, either in a basic or applied field. Many laureates have made seminal advancements that have enabled the successful treatment of disease or have the potential to lead to significant health benefits. For more information, please click here.

2016 Recipients

John O'Shea

John O’Shea

John O’Shea, Scientific Director, National Institute of Arthritis Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health

Dr. John O’Shea has performed outstanding research on how cytokines transmit signals to the cell interior of T cells and innate lymphocytes so as to evoke and direct subsequent immune responses. This work has led to a better understanding of the effects of mutations in these signaling pathway genes on immune function. Among the first to clone the protein kinase JAK3, O’Shea identified its crucial role in cytokine signaling and, based in large part on this work, pharmacological Jak inhibitors have been developed as a new class of immunomodulatory drugs. He has received numerous awards, including the Lee C. Howley Sr. Prize for Research in Arthritis: the U.S. Public Health Service Physician Researcher of the Year Award and the Paul Bunn Award in Infectious Disease.

Jan Vilcek

Jan Vilcek

Jan Vilcek, Research Professor, Department of Microbiology & Professor Emeritus of Microbiology, Department of Microbiology, New York University School of Medicine

Dr. Jan Vilcek originally demonstrated that interferons (IFNs) protect cells from infection with isolated viral RNA, proving that the site of interferon action is intracellular. He was the first to show that IFNα and IFNβ are encoded by distinct genes, a concept that caused a reevaluation of how the host responds to viral infection. Subsequently, he focused his research on another cytokine, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), where he made outstanding achievements and contributions in understanding the effects of TNFaon the host immune response. These studies led him to develop an antibody, now named Remicade/infliximab, that has improved the lives of thousands of individuals who suffer from Rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and other autoimmune diseases. For this work, he has received numerous awards and honors, including the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

Carl Nathan

Carl Nathan

Carl Nathan, R.A. Rees Pritchett Professor and Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College and co-chair of the Program in Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis at Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University

Dr. Carl Nathan has performed pioneering work in immunology, microbiology, infectious disease and global health.  His work on how the immune system responds to infection by Mycobacterium tuberculosis stands-out in particular, as he has defined how cytokines play a pivotal role in this disease. Dr. Nathan’s outstanding scientific achievements have led to numerous paradigm-shifts in understanding the immune response to infection and his research will continue to shape our therapeutic approaches in this area. His work has been recognized by numerous honors and awards, including membership in the US National Academy of Sciences.



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