November 7 Nov 7
5:45 PM - 9:00 PM
Thursday Thu
By Invitation Only

2019 Alumni Awards

Thank you to all that could join us on this special evening honoring our 2019 Alumni Award recipients! Each year, the Stanford Medicine Alumni Association presents awards to distinguished alumni for exceptional service to Stanford Medicine and outstanding lifetime contributions to medicine and the biomedical sciences. The Alumni Awards Dinner is an evening awards ceremony celebrating the achievements and in recognition of our outstanding alumni award recipients.

By Invitation Only. 

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Alumni Awards & 2019 Recipients

J.E. Wallace Sterling Lifetime Achievement Award in J.E. Wallace Sterling Lifetime Achievement Award in Medicine

In the summer of 1953, J. E. Wallace Sterling, president of Stanford University, persuaded the university trustees to move the School of Medicine from San Francisco to the main Palo Alto campus. The school was moved in 1959, and was transformational in its bringing together, in one location, the resources and pioneering breakthroughs of the School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital, and Stanford University. Stanford Medicine grew steadily in national stature until it attained and now holds a respected place in the front ranks of medical education, scientific achievement, and clinical medicine.

Many years following the move to campus, retired faculty surgeon Gunther W. Nagel, MD ’21, proposed that the school establish an award in Sterling’s name to recognize a distinguished graduate. In 1983, the Stanford Medicine Alumni Association Board of Governors conferred the first J. E. Wallace Sterling Lifetime Achievement Award, now presented annually to a Stanford University School of Medicine MD graduate in recognition of exceptional lifetime achievement in medicine.

Charles A. Czeisler, PhD '78, MD '81

Charles Czeisler co-founded and directs the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, where he is the Frank Baldino, Jr, PhD Professor of Sleep Medicine and Professor of Medicine. He also teaches at Harvard College and is founding Chief of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

After earning his MD and PhD working in the lab of Dr. William Dement, as part of  Stanford’s Medical Scientist Training Program, he carved out a new area of occupational medicine on work hours and sleep through a Senior Fellowship in Health Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

While at Stanford, Dr. Czeisler discovered that the brain’s circadian clock regulates sleep and applied his research to improve shift work schedules. He subsequently discovered that light resets the brain’s circadian cycles and characterized fundamental properties of the human circadian pacemaker. He discovered that bright light can effectively treat maladaptation to night shift work, and that melatonin can improve misaligned sleep. He also demonstrated that physicians’ extended-duration work shifts adversely affect both patient and physician safety, earning the NIOSH Director’s Award for Scientific Leadership in Occupational Safety and Health.

Dr. Czeisler currently directs the largest NIH-supported sleep-research training program in the nation, which has trained 63 pre-doctoral fellows, 123 post-doctoral fellows and 49 under-represented minority medical students. He led NASA’s Sleep Team, recording the sleep of astronauts during spaceflight. With his colleagues, he received NASA’s Innovation Award for designing the solid-state lighting system on the International Space Station to improve the sleep of astronauts.

Dr. Czeisler is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the International Academy of Astronautics, and was awarded Honorary Fellowships by the Royal College of Physicians and the American Physiological Society. He served as Board Chair of the National Sleep Foundation, Chair of the NIH Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board, faculty for the World Economic Forum (Davos) and Aspen Ideas Festival, and President of the Sleep Research Society.

Michael Rutledge DeBaun MD ’87, MS ‘87

Michael DeBaun is an internationally recognized physician-scientist whose advocacy and research have resulted in fundamental advances in medical care for sickle cell disease (SCD) and Beckwith Wiedemann Syndrome. He is Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, Vice Chair of Clinical and Translational Research in the Department of Pediatrics and holds the JC Peterson Endowed Chair at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. 

After receiving his degrees from Stanford, he completed his pediatric residency, served as chief resident, and completed his hematology-oncology fellowship at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. He then completed a U.S. Public Health Service Epidemiology fellowship at the NIH, concurrent with earning an MPH degree from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  For 14 years at Washington University School of Medicine, he served as Professor of Pediatrics, Biostatistics, and Neurology, was the inaugural Ferring Family Chair in Pediatrics, and received numerous faculty and teaching awards.

In 2010, DeBaun was recruited to Vanderbilt University School of Medicine where he founded the Vanderbilt-Meharry Center of Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease. The Center is one of the first in the country to establish a medical home care model for SCD in a community health center.

Dr. DeBaun was the primary physician author of the federal 2004 Sickle Cell Treatment Act, creating regional networks for enhanced services for those with SCD. His research efforts have included clinical trials in North America, Europe, and Africa. Additionally, in Ghana, he was the leader of a multi-disciplinary team decreasing the death rate of pregnant women with SCD by approximately 90%.

Dr. DeBaun is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, Association of American Physicians and National Academy of Medicine. He has received the Ernest Beutler Prize and Lecture in Clinical Science from the American Society of Hematology  and two international mentor awards for his work in Ghana, Nigeria and U.S., the Maureen Andrews Mentor Award from the Society of Pediatric Research and the American Society of Hematology Mentor Award.

Arthur Kornberg and Paul Berg Lifetime Achievement Award in Biomedical Sciences

In 2010, the Stanford University Medical Center Alumni Association Board of Governors established an award to recognize the lifetime achievements of Stanford University School of Medicine alumni in the biomedical sciences. This award carries the names of Arthur Kornberg, MD, and Paul Berg, PhD, in recognition of their pioneering contributions to medicine and their service to Stanford.
In 1959, Dr. Kornberg came to Stanford as chair of the newly established Department of Biochemistry. In the same year, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine along with Severo Ochoa for their work in elucidating how DNA is built. These basic studies paved the road to recombinant DNA and genetic engineering, now important elements in the treatment of cancer and viral infections.
Dr. Berg also came to Stanford in 1959. His work with recombinant DNA, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1980, helped launch the biotechnology industry.
Drs. Berg and Kornberg brought to Stanford a passion for discovery, groundbreaking research, and a strong spirit of excitement and cooperation. They helped forge an environment that has produced generations of highly successful students and postdoctoral fellows, and in so doing, shaped the future of the School of Medicine. This lifetime achievement award honors their legacy.

Sandra Schmid, PhD ‘85

Sandra Schmid holds the Cecil H. Green Distinguished Chair in Cellular and Molecular Biology and is Professor and Chair of the Department of Cell Biology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. She is internationally recognized for her research on endocytosis – the fundamental process by which cells internalize nutrients.

Dr. Schmid received her BS in cell biology from the University of British Columbia in 1980 before moving to Stanford to complete her PhD in biochemistry in 1985 under the guidance of James Rothman. She was a Helen H. Whitney Postdoctoral Fellow and then Lucille P. Markey Scholar working in the Department of Cell Biology at Yale Medical School. Schmid joined the Scripps Research Institute in 1988 and served as Professor and Chair of Cell Biology from 2011-2012 before moving to UT Southwestern.

Dr. Schmid has made discoveries that have advanced the knowledge of endocytosis, a fundamental cellular process that plays an essential role in nutrient and antigen processing. Her findings have helped delineate the mechanisms through which endosomes move throughout the cell to fulfill their functions. She studies the molecular mechanisms and regulation underlying clathrin-mediated endocytosis, the major pathway for uptake into the cell and a critical regulator of cell-cell and cell-environment communication. She was a pioneer in defining the GTPase dynamin as a catalyst of membrane fission. More recently, she has discovered isoform-specific functions of dynamin that are activated in cancer cells.

In addition to her research program, Dr. Schmid has been a leader in the scientific community as co-founding editor of Traffic, Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Biology of the Cell, and former President of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB).

Her research and leadership contributions have been recognized by numerous awards including the ASCB/WICB Jr. and Sr. Career Recognition Awards, the William C. Rose Award from the ASBMB, the Sir Bernard Katz Award from the Biophysics Society and an honorary Doctorate from the University of Stockholm. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2015.

Irving L. Weissman, MD ’65

Dr. Weissman is the Founder and Director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, the Director of the Stanford Ludwig Center for Cancer Stem Cell Research, and the former director of the Stanford Cancer Center. To develop new therapies based on scientific discoveries from his group, Weissman also co-founded SyStemix 1988-96, StemCells in 1996-2017, and Cellerant in 2001-09. In 2015 He founded Forty Seven Inc. for clinical development of immunotherapies.

His research on hematopoiesis, hematologic malignancies and solid tumors has led to several discoveries and the development of new therapies. These include the isolation and transplantation of pure hematopoietic stem cells and the demonstration that, upon transplantation, pure HSCs can regenerate the entire blood and immune system without causing graft vs. host disease. At SyStemix he co-discovered the human hematopoetic stem cell and at StemCells, he co-discovered a human central nervous system stem cell. Those earlier studies served as a foundation for the biological definition and prospective isolation of human leukemia stem cells. Subsequently, Weissman discovered CD47 as a ‘don’t eat me’ signal used by leukemias and all other human cancers to evade innate immunity. Weissman then led the clinical development of CD47 blockade as a new cancer immunotherapy.

Professor Weissman is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy, and the American Association of Arts and Sciences. He has received many awards, including the Albany Prize for Biomedical Research, the Kaiser Award for Excellence in Preclinical Teaching, the Pasarow Award in Cancer Research, the California Scientist of the Year, the De Villiers International Achievement Award of the Leukemia Society of America, the Robert Koch Award, the Rosenstiel Award, The max Delbruck Medal, and the Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Award of the National Academy of Sciences. He is also the 2004 New York Academy of Medicine Award for distinguished contributions to biomedical research, and has several honorary doctorates.


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291 Campus Dr.
Palo Alto, CA 94305

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Stanford University School of Medicine

291 Campus Dr.
Palo Alto CA, 94305
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