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Press Release

NDRI’s 2018 Service to Science Awards Salute Biomedical Research Partnerships to Advance Lifesaving Drug Discoveries

National Disease Research Interchange
Posted on: 23 Jan 18

Discovering a groundbreaking therapy doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It takes a network of partnerships to ensure success. The National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI) will recognize several such partners when it presents its Service to Science Awards on Thursday, Feb. 1, at The Union League of Philadelphia.

Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will receive NDRI’s highest honor, the prestigious D. Walter Cohen, DDS Service to Science Award. A physician-geneticist, he is noted for landmark discoveries of disease causing mutations for cystic fibrosis, and his leadership role in the 2003 completion of a finished sequence of the human DNA instruction book.

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), will be recognized with NDRI’s Champion of Research Award for his ardent commitment to strong, sustained federal investment in biomedical research and staunch advocacy for National Institutes of Health funding.

“NDRI is tremendously grateful for the support we receive from the NIH under Dr. Collins’ leadership and thanks Senator Casey for his strong and effective advocacy that allows NDRI to partner with scientists throughout the world to expand the horizons of medical knowledge and find answers to today’s most pressing biomedical challenges,” said Bill Leinweber, NDRI president and CEO, who will present the awards along with Mary J.C. Hendrix, PhD., chair of the board of NDRI.

NDRI’s Service to Science Pharmaceutical Industry Leadership Award will honor Jeffrey Leiden, MD, PhD, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Through a collaboration with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and NDRI’s national network of high-quality donor specimens for research, Vertex developed KalydecoTM to combat CF at its biological root.

Preston W. Campbell, III, MD, president and CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, will receive the Excellence in Research and Patient Advocacy Award. Under Dr. Campbell’s leadership, the Foundation works to find new therapies and improve existing ones to help people with CF to manage disease symptoms. Since 2004, the CF Foundation has funded NDRI’s national network as a reliable source of both cystic lung tissue for research on promising new drugs, and normal lung tissue for comparison. Nearly every CF-specific drug available today was made possible through the Foundation’s financial support.

Magee-Womens Research Institute and Foundation at Magee-Womens Hospital of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is the largest research institute in the United States devoted exclusively to health conditions affecting women and infants, and is one of the highest placing tissue source sites within NDRI’s hospital program. The team will receive NDRI’s Outstanding Research Donation Partner Award for its responsiveness, commitment to excellence, ability to anticipate researchers’ needs and meticulous tissue preservation according to precise protocol requirements — all critical to helping NDRI advance biomedical/bioscience research and development worldwide.

Joseph A. DiRienzi, PA (ASCP) cm , pathologists’ assistant at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, will receive NDRI’s Outstanding Tissue Procurement Partner Award. A prolific provider of exceptional-quality biospecimens, DiRienzi is recognized for his passion for research, his desire for perfection in every recovery and the respect he shows in helping families leave a meaningful legacy for their loved ones through the donation of organs and tissues for research.

NDRI’s 2018 Service to Science Awards Dinner begins with a reception at 6 p.m.; dinner and awards from 7 – 9 p.m. Reserve seats at

About NDRI

The National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI) is the nation’s leading source of human tissues, cells and organs for scientific research. A not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) organization founded in 1980, NDRI is funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, public and private foundations and organizations, pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporations. NDRI is a 24/7 operation that partners with a nationwide network of over 130 tissue source sites (TSS), including organ procurement organizations (OPO), tissue banks, eye banks, and hospitals. The TSS are distributed throughout the USA. Their wide geographic distribution allows NDRI to provide biospecimens from donor populations with diverse demographics and also facilitates the timely and efficient provision of fresh tissues directly to researchers around the world—supporting breakthrough advances and discoveries that can affect advances in the treatment and cure of human diseases.

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Last updated on: 23/01/2018

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