Mohanakumar receives clinical science award


Thalachallour Mohanakumar, PhD, the Jacqueline G. and William E. Maritz Professor of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received the Paul I. Terasaki Clinical Science Award. He was given the award Nov. 20 at the 39th annual meeting of the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI) in Chicago.

Mohanakumar is an internationally renowned organ transplantation scientist whose contributions have played a leading role in the success of the transplant programs at Washington University Medical Center.

The Terasaki award was established in 2003 to recognize an individual, group or institution with significant accomplishments and/or contributions to the fields of clinical transplantation, histocompatibility and immunogenetics. It honors Paul Terasaki, PhD, a professor emeritus of surgery at University of California, Los Angeles, and a pioneer in organ transplant medicine who developed the test that became the international standard method for tissue typing, a procedure that assesses the compatibility of organ donors and recipients.

Mohanakumar, also a professor of medicine and of pathology and immunology, has been an influential mentor to many scientists in transplantation immunology and histocompatibility. Among his former trainees are the heads of abdominal transplant programs, directors of histocompatibility laboratories, and heads of research and development in industry. He also contributes as director of the clinical histocompatibility and immunogenetics laboratory at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Mohanakumar has received national awards from the American Society of Transplantation, ASHI and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. His current research focus is defining the immunopathogenesis of chronic rejection following organ transplantation. Recent studies have demonstrated that immune responses to self-antigens (autoimmunity) play an important part in chronic rejection. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has funded his research, and he has published more than 415 papers. He also has served on several NIH study sections.

Mohanakumar earned a doctorate of veterinary medicine in 1966 from Madres Veterinary College in India. He received his doctoral degree from Duke University in 1974 and an immunology postdoctoral fellowship at the same institution. After serving on the faculty of the Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, for 11 years, he joined the Washington University faculty in 1987.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.