The AAAAI Foundation and K. Frank Austen, MD FAAAAI & Albert L. Sheffer, MD FAAAAI Lectureship: Bench to Bedside
For more than 50 years, Drs. K. Frank Austen and Albert L. Sheffer worked in concert, making advances in the discipline and impacting generations of physicians and investigators who’ve gone on to become leaders in the specialty. Their career arcs were not only parallel, but complementary, with Austen as the consummate bench researcher and Sheffer the master clinician. Through the Allergy Clinic and the Allergy Training Program they founded in 1966, they’ve trained hundreds of physicians who are now in academic positions or in practice. Over 90 of their former fellows are full professors or an equivalent rank at the NIH or other research institutes.
Austen has been instrumental in understanding the mechanisms that trigger, amplify, and control the inflammatory response. He is considered a pioneer in the biochemistry of the release of mast cell mediators and the biological properties of leukotrienes. He currently is Astra Zeneca Professor of Respiratory and Inflammatory Diseases in the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. His research into autoimmune diseases and asthma produced some of the pioneering work in the field. Dr. Austen also served as President of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in 1981.
Sheffer conducted innovative clinical research to create or expand treatment options for conditions such as allergic rhinitis, bronchial asthma and hereditary angioedema. He provided care to thousands of patients with allergic and immunologic diseases, as well as training and mentorship to more than 100 fellows. He was President of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in 1987, was the first chair of the expert panel that generated the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Asthma, and cochairman of the first Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) Committee. Dr. Sheffer passed away in December of 2015.
Austen and Sheffer were close friends outside of the clinic as well as colleagues within. Their inextricable professional lives make this Lectureship and Award a fitting tribute in honor of a remarkable partnership that laid pivotal foundations for the specialty that will have impact for years to come.
2020 marks the 2nd year of the AAAAI Foundation and K. Frank Austen, MD FAAAAI & Albert L. Sheffer, MD FAAAAI Lectureship: Bench to Bedside.
John V. Fahy, MD MSc
Michael S. Stulbarg Endowed Chair in Pulmonary Medicine at the University of California San Francisco
Dr. Fahy is the Michael S. Stulbarg endowed chair in pulmonary medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). He is a graduate of University College Dublin in Ireland, and he completed fellowship training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at UCSF (Homer Boushey lab) before joining the UCSF faculty in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in 1993.
He directs a program of research that focuses on mechanisms of disease and explorations of new treatments for patients with airway disease with a focus on asthma. His program emphasizes explorations of disease mechanisms in patient centered studies. His lab comprises a dual infrastructure with both clinical and bench lab space and his experimental approaches frequently involve analyses of carefully collected biospecimens (and lung images) from highly characterized patients in order to advance understanding of disease mechanisms and disease subtypes (endotypes). Type 2 immune dysfunction, airway epithelial cell biology and mucus gel pathology are the focus of his research funding from NHLBI. Dr Fahy also has been primary mentor for K awards for 5 physician scientists (both K23 and K08 awards.)