AMP announces recipients of 2019's Award for Excellence in Molecular Diagnostics

The Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP), the premier global, molecular diagnostics professional society, today announced the recipients of this year's Award for Excellence in Molecular Diagnostics, Jeffrey A. Kant Leadership Award and Meritorious Service Award. These prestigious accolades will be presented this November during AMP's 25th Annual Meeting & Expo in Baltimore, Maryland.

Award for Excellence in Molecular Diagnostics

Russell Higuchi, PhD

Cepheid, Sunnyvale, CA, USA

Dr. Higuchi is receiving AMP's highest honor in recognition of his pioneering work in molecular biology. Over a distinguished career spanning more than three decades, Dr. Higuchi has authored more than 60 publications, which have been cited over 25,000 times. He is an inventor on thirteen different issued US patents, including sole inventor on the first method and instrument patents for real-time PCR. Subsequently, Dr. Higuchi helped establish real-time PCR as the standard molecular diagnostics technology. Earlier in his career he published the first paper in the field of ancient DNA as well as the first paper describing the forensic science use of PCR. This was to identify an individual from a single hair. He is currently involved in the management of projects that are looking to discover effective nucleic acid markers for the non-invasive detection and diagnosis of cancer and infectious disease agents.

Following his award presentation, Dr. Higuchi will deliver the meeting's keynote lecture, "Efficient Use of the Available DNA - A Career."

Jeffrey A. Kant Leadership Award

Karl V. Voelkerding, MD

University of Utah School of Medicine, ARUP Laboratories

AMP is recognizing Dr. Voelkerding for his exceptional leadership and commitment to advancing AMP's mission. He has consistently provided educational and practical leadership to AMP, from his early days educating AMP members about hemochromatosis on our listserv, all the way through to his tireless efforts concerning next-generation sequencing and advising AMP for strategic success. Dr. Voelkerding has served AMP in many capacities, including as the first chair of AMP's Infectious Diseases subdivision in 1994, as Program Chair in 1999, as President in 2001, and as a member of the Strategic Opportunities Committee.

AMP Meritorious Service Award

Rami Mahfouz, MD

American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Dr. Mahfouz is being recognized for his dedication to making AMP a truly international society. He is the first non-U.S. resident to receive this award. Shortly after becoming a member in 2002, Dr. Mahfouz helped spearhead the creation of the International Affairs Working Group, which later became the permanent International Affairs Committee (IAC). Dr. Mahfouz has served as the IAC Chair since 2017. Under his tenure, AMP has hosted three international meetings and doubled its number of international affiliate organizations. AMP's international membership and meeting attendees have also increased substantially.

"Drs. Higuchi, Voelkerding and Mahfouz have made indispensable contributions to the molecular diagnostics field and to AMP," said Victoria M. Pratt, PhD, FACMG, AMP President. "On behalf of the more than 2,500 AMP members, I wish to congratulate and thank them for their unwavering commitment to the molecular diagnostics community and all of the patients we serve."

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