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Microbiome expert Martin Blaser to receive Georgetown’s Cura Personalis Award Nov. 3

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WASHINGTON (Nov. 2, 2015) – Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) will bestow its highest honor, the Cura Personalis Award, upon Martin J. Blaser, MD, a world-renowned microbiome researcher and clinician.

The award, to be presented Nov. 3 at the 8th annual GUMC Fall Convocation, recognizes health professionals who have made outstanding contributions to human health guided by compassion and service.

Blaser, the Muriel and George Singer Professor of Medicine and Professor of Microbiology at New York University Langone Medical Center, as well as director of the Human Microbiome Program, is being honored "for his pioneering work identifying a connection between Helicobacter pylori and the development of gastric cancers, his research on early life changes to the microbiome and the development of chronic health conditions, and his vision and leadership in raising awareness of the issue of antibiotic resistance."

"Dr. Blaser is a true pioneer and an unrelenting scientist with a keen focus on discovering the full impact of the microbiome on human health," says Edward Healton, MD, MPH, GUMC's Executive Vice President and Executive Dean of its medical school. "It is our honor to present him with GUMC's Cura Personalis Award in recognition of his critical contributions to date, and for those we know will come from this visionary researcher."

On Sept. 15, Blaser was appointed chair of the US Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. In late October, Blaser joined other top scientists in his field to urge the formation of a national initiative focused on microbiome research. Their call to action published in Science was echoed by a simultaneous publication in Nature.

Earlier this year, Blaser was included in Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world following the 2014 publication of his book, "Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics is Fueling Our Modern Plagues."

In the magazine's profile of Blaser, Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-N.Y.), who is also a microbiologist, wrote, "As a scientist and author, Dr. Martin Blaser is an incredibly important voice on the consequences of our rampant overuse of antibiotics."

Blaser was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2011. He is past president of the Infectious Disease Society of America, which awarded him the Alexander Fleming Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2014.

Blaser served as chair of medicine at New York University for nearly 13 years. Blaser previously served as chair of the National Cancer Institute's Board of Scientific Counselors and of the Advisory Board for Clinical Research at National Institutes of Health. He is a member of the editorial board numerous journals.

After earning his bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Blaser earned his MD from New York University and completed postgraduate studies at the University of Colorado Health Science Center and as an Epidemic Intelligent Service officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Blaser will receive his honor and deliver the GUMC Convocation keynote address at 4:00 p.m. Earlier in the day from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Blaser and GUMC colleagues will participate in a panel discussion "Antibiotics, Panacea or Problem?" All activities take place in the Research Building Auditorium on the GUMC campus.

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About Georgetown University Medical Center

Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC's mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis — or "care of the whole person." The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked; Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute; and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization, which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health.

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