April 5, 2018
Congratulations go to Dr. Zhijian ‘James’ Chen — just named the 2018 Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences recipient by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.
The highly prestigious award recognizes Dr. Chen’s exceptional work that the Lupus Research Alliance proudly helped fund.
His discovery of an enzyme cGAS uncovered an essential process that alerts the immune system to viruses by sensing the presence of ‘foreign DNA within cells’. As a winner of our Dr. William E. Paul Distinguished Innovator Awards in Lupus and Autoimmunity, Dr. Chen was able to confirm his hypothesis that this pathway malfunctions in lupus, causing the immune system to attack its own DNA. That breakthrough reveals a strong potential target for therapies to treat or prevent lupus and other autoimmune diseases.
Dr. Chen is the George L. MacGregor Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Science and Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and an Investigator of Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Chen is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the greatest honors a scientist can receive.