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TSRI Scientist Named Recipient of Rous-Whipple Award

La Jolla, CA., January 12, 1998 -- Francis V. Chisari, M.D., Professor and Head of the Division of Experimental Pathology at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), has been named winner of the 1999 Rous-Whipple Award from the American Society for Investigative Pathology. This award, recognizing experimental pathologists over age 50 who have had a distinguished research career and are continuing to contribute to the field, is one of the most prestigious honors in the discipline of experimental pathology. Chisari will receive a monetary award and a plaque, and has been invited to present a lecture at the annual meeting of the American Society for Investigative Pathology in Washington, D.C., in April, 1999.

He is the author of more than 200 papers illuminating the immunobiology and pathogenesis of hepatitis B and C virus infections. His research group was the first to define the CD4 and CD8 T- cell responses to hepatitis B virus (HBV) in infected patients, and to demonstrate that viral clearance occurs in the context of a vigorous multispecific T cell response while a weak or narrowly- focused response leads to viral persistence. This series of studies provided critical insight into the immunological basis of viral clearance and persistence during HBV infection, and it established the scientific basis for development of specific immunotherapy for chronic hepatitis. His laboratory also has defined the molecular basis for hepatocellular carcinoma during HBV infection and they discovered that the immune system can clear viral infection by curing as well as by killing infected cells.

Peter M. Howley, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, says Chisari, "has made, and continues to make, fundamental contributions to our understanding of the pathogenesis of hepatitis B virus infections," and calls him, "one of the leading scientists in the world in viral pathogenesis."

Chisari is a graduate of Fordham University and received a medical degree from Cornell University Medical College. He is board certified in internal medicine and anatomic pathology. Following a two-year research fellowship in virology at the National Institutes of Health, he joined Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in 1973, first as a fellow in immunology and subsequently as a member of the scientific faculty. In addition to his appointment at TSRI, since 1987 he has been an adjunct professor in the Department of Pathology, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Previous recipients of the Rous-Whipple Award from TSRI include Drs. Frank Dixon, Hans J. Muller-Eberhard, Michael B.A. Oldstone, and Thomas S. Edgington.

In addition to this most recent honor, Chisari is the recipient of many honors and awards, including a Research Career Development Award, Fogarty Senior International Fellowship, and MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health. He also is a Foreign Scholar of the Fondation pour la Recherche Medicale, France; a recipient of the Sheila Sherlock Liver Research Prize, University of Toronto; a member of the Association of American Physicians; and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1997, Dr. Chisari received the prestigious Ernst Jung Prize in Medicine, and last year he received the first Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award from the American Liver Foundation.

The Scripps Research Institute is the nation's largest private, non-profit biomedical research organization. In less than four decades TSRI has established a lengthy track record of major contributions to the betterment of health and the human condition in that area of medical research that seeks to comprehend the most fundamental processes of life. The institute's particular area of expertise is at the nexus of biology and chemistry; in this arena TSRI is among a handful of the world's leading centers.

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