LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Mariusz Ratajczak, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sci., has been selected to receive the prestigious Karl Landsteiner Prize from the German Society for Transfusion Medicine and Immunohematology. Ratajczak holds the Henry M. and Stella M. Hoenig Endowed Chair at the University of Louisville.
The Landsteiner Prize is given by the society to a doctor for outstanding achievements and research in the fields of transfusion and/or immunology. The prize is named after Karl Landsteiner, an Austrian biologist and physician. In addition to distinguishing the main blood groups, Landsteiner also discovered polio along with several other researchers and received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1930. Landsteiner is recognized as the father of transfusion medicine. Previous recipients of the Karl Landsteiner Prize include Nobel Prize laureate Rolf Zinkernagel (Basel), Karl Blume (Seattle) and Stephanie Dimmeler (Frankfurt).
Ratajczak was honored for his outstanding achievements in the characterization of mechanisms involved in the mobilization of hematopoietic stem cells and the discovery of very small embryonic like stem cells in the adult tissue.
An internationally known specialist in the field of adult stem cell biology, his 2005 discovery of embryonic-like stem cells in adult bone marrow has potential to revolutionize the field of regenerative medicine. The discovery may lead to new treatments for heart disease, eye disease, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders, as well as provide insight into the development of many forms of leukemia.
In addition to his endowed position, Ratajczak is a professor in the Department of Medicine and the director of the Developmental Biology Research Program and of the Research Flow and Sorting Core Facility at the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center.
In addition to receiving the Karl Landsteiner Prize, Ratajczak has also been invited to deliver an opening lecture on Sept. 9 during the society’s annual meeting in Dresden, Germany.