January 20, 1997

Media Contacts: Sarah Goodwin, 404/727-3366 - sgoodwi@emory.edu
Kathi Ovnic, 404/727-9371 - covnic@emory.edu

Sixty researchers were honored at a December White House ceremony as recipients of the first annual Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The National Institutes of Health selected Emory University pathologist Aron Eliot Lukacher, M.D., Ph.D., as one of its 10 awardees.

Dr. Lukacher's research involves the investigation of host immunity to tumors caused by viruses. Using a tumor-inducing virus in mice called polyoma virus, Dr. Lukacher is analyzing both the role of the host immune response in protection against cancer and the mechanisms used by tumors to evade immunity. Dr. Lukacher is hoping that his work will lead to facilitating the development of strategies to bolster immunity against virus-induced cancers, such as those caused by Human Papilloma Virus and Epstein-Barr Virus.

"Viral oncogenesis, the understanding of the role viruses play in the formation of some tumors, is an exciting and rapidly evolving field critically important to our undestanding of cancer," said Christopher D. Hillyer, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Pathology and deputy director of the Winship Cancer Center. "Dr. Lukacher's work is outstanding. He will no doubt continue to make vital contributions to this field."

Dr. Lukacher, assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at Emory University School of Medicine, graduated from Washington University School of Medicine in 1987 and later completed his residency training and research fellowship at Harvard Medical School. He came to Emory 's Department of Pathology in 1994 and was elected a member of the Winship Cancer Center in 1995.

The PECASE award was created by the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), the organization which oversees the coordination of the President's science and technology policy agenda, to show the high priority placed by the government on the training and development of outstanding scientists.

"The Presidential Awards are intended to recognize some of the finest scientists and engineers who, while early in their research careers, show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge," say s the NSTC. "The Presidential Award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers."

For more general information on The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, call Health Sciences News and Information at 404-727-5686, or send e-mail to hsnews@emory.edu.

Copyright ©Emory University, 1997. All Rights Reserved.
Send comments to whscweb@emory.edu