Researchers and School of Medicine Dean to receive Awards

11/30/99    Portland, Ore.

Two researchers, School of Medicine dean to receive awards for lasting contributions to research, education, care.

Two research scientists and a medical school dean have won the 1999 Discovery and Mentor awards sponsored by the Oregon Health Sciences Foundation. The Discovery and Mentor awards originally were established by the Medical Research Foundation in 1984. These two foundations, which support medical research and education, joined forces in 1994.

The Discovery Awards recognize Oregon scientists who have made significant contributions to biomedical research. This year's winners are Roger Cone, Ph.D., senior scientist at Oregon Health Sciences University's Vollum Institute, and professor of cell and developmental biology in the OHSU School of Medicine; and Brian Druker, M.D., professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the OHSU School of Medicine.

Cone is a leader in the field of endocrine research. Through his investigation of how hormones regulate pigment, Cone has revealed a connection between hormones and appetite. His innovative research methods have resulted in seven patents issued or filed. In addition, Cone is the founding president of Northwest Neurologic, a biotechnology start-up company that is now a subsidiary of Neurocrine Biosciences. Cone has extended his talents into leadership roles as well, serving as director of the medical school's Molecular and Cell Biology Graduate Program.

Druker has a worldwide reputation in the fields of signal transduction and the role of proteins in controlling the spread of cancer cells. His discoveries about the molecular basis of leukemia hold the promise of the first effective therapy for chronic myelocytic leukemia.

Druker is the chairman of the Hematologic Malignancies Program of the Oregon Cancer Center at OHSU and director of its Cancer Research Unit. He also directs the School of Medicine's combined M.D./Ph.D. program, which offers students the opportunity to pursue careers as physicians and biomedical researchers. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, a permanent member of the NIH Hematology Study Section, and sits on the editorial board of the journal Blood.

The Mentor Award goes to an Oregonian who has provided outstanding leadership and support in health research, education or the advancement of health care. Joseph Bloom, M.D., dean of OHSU's School of Medicine since 1994, is this year's recipient. Bloom is an internationally recognized forensic psychiatrist and a leading authority on the legal basis for Oregon's insanity defense. His writings range from the mental health problems of rural Alaskans to patients in Oregon's public psychiatric hospitals. For 22 years, the OHSU community has benefited from Bloom's excellence in clinical treatment, legal scholarship and academic leadership.

"As director of a community psychiatric training program, chairman of psychiatry and now as dean of the School of Medicine, Bloom is a unique individual," said John Benson, M.D., president emeritus of the American Board of Internal Medicine and dean emeritus of the OHSU School of Medicine. Joe provides decisive leadership characterized by tact, empathy, humor and high standards. Students and faculty are aware at all times of his sincere concern and regard for them personally, as well as professionally. His is an outstanding mentor."

The awards will be presented at the foundation's annual dinner in Portland Wednesday, Dec. 15, 1999.