The American Society of Transplantation (AST) has awarded Christian P. Larsen, MD, PhD, Carlos and Marguerite Mason Professor of Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine and director of the Emory Transplant Center, the 2004 Roche Basic Science Award. The award, which is given for career achievement in basic science research at the professor level, was announced at the AST annual meeting in Boston this spring.
Dr. Larsen is a graduate of Emory College and Emory University School of Medicine, where he also completed his surgical residency. He completed his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Transplantation Immunology in the Nuffield Department of Surgery in Oxford, England. Dr. Larsen joined the Department of Surgery at Emory School of Medicine in 1991. In addition to directing the Emory Transplant Center, he directs the Marguerite Mason Transplant Biology Research Center at Emory and co-directs the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Center for Islet Transplantation.
Dr. Larsen was nominated for the award by his colleague Thomas Pearson, MD, PhD, Livingston Professor of Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine and chief of the Kidney Transplantation Program.
"Dr. Larsen has produced a level of scientific achievement in the field of transplantation biology that is equaled by only a few," Dr. Pearson said. "His systematic and sustained approach, including novel and innovative basic science investigations, has addressed important hurdles to the development of improved strategies for transplantation, and I believe they will ultimately provide us the best opportunity to achieve the goal of transplantation tolerance. Dr. Larsen has a tremendous influence on the colleagues who are fortunate to work with him. I believe his enthusiasm, intelligence, hard work, and willingness to share his time and talents with his colleagues will result in the successful achievement of our goals."
The Emory Transplant Center is the largest and most comprehensive transplant program in Georgia, not only performing heart, lung, liver, kidney and kidney-pancreas transplants, but also conducting leading-edge research to improve the effectiveness of transplantation, including the study of islet transplantation as a promising new approach to the treatment of Type 1 diabetes.
In March 2003, Dr. Larsen performed the first islet transplant in Georgia, and has since continued this procedure in other patients. Dr. Larsen and Dr. Pearson and their colleagues are at the forefront of transplant immunology research, using groundbreaking strategies to stop rejection of transplanted organs by establishing true immune tolerance with drugs that are less toxic than traditional immunosuppressants.