Anthony Atala, M.D., 2000 Christopher Columbus Foundation Award

Written by on June 10, 2000 in 2000, Christopher Columbus Foundation Award, Researcher

Anthony Atala

Anthony Atala, M.D.

Associate Professor of Surgery
Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

Lab-Grown Human Organs

Dr. Anthony Atala was the recipient of the 2000 $100,000 Christopher Columbus Foundation Award. Dr. Atala’s research will potentially offer everyone in need of an organ transplant to receive it, as he is creating new organs in the laboratory. The new organs are created for specific patients with the patient’s own cells.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Organ and Tissue Donation Initiative, more than 20,000 Americans–about 55 each day–receive organ transplants that save or enhance their lives each year. Unfortunately, about 4,000 people die in the United States each year–about ten every day–while waiting for a donated kidney, liver, heart, lung, or other organ. There are more than 55,000 people presently on the national organ transplant waiting list.

It is believed there are more than 500 million people worldwide who suffer from end-stage organ or tissue failure, and will eventually require tissue replacement or organ transplantation. Statistics show if a patient is on a waiting list, there is only a 38 percent chance that they will get an organ, and most have to wait for someone to die in order for an organ to become available. Worldwide, more than 20,000 people die every year while waiting for an organ, and even if the patient does receive an organ, there is a 40 percent chance that it will be rejected over time, despite aggressive immunotherapy.

Dr. Atala’s research offers a breakthrough in ending the pain and suffering of millions of people worldwide.
Evaluation Committee

The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation is honored to have had the assistance of the following distinguished individuals serving on the Christopher Columbus Foundation Award Evaluation Committee:

Aviation and Aerospace:
Captain Jon A. McBride, (USN, Retired), Cambridge Associates, Ltd., Charleston, WV
Ron Sega, Ph.D., Dean of Engineering at Applied Science, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO
Richard L. Young, Builder and Pilot of Wright Brothers Aircraft Replica, Richmond, VA

John A. Kleppe, Ph.D. – Chair, Electrical Engineering, University of
Nevada, Reno, NV
Jacob Mendelssohn, Ph.D. – Technology Services Institute, West
Hartford, CT
Neill S. Smith, Ph.D. – Senior Engineer, Vehicle Control
Technologies, Inc., Reston, VA

Marc A. Auslander, IBM Fellow, IBM Thomas J. Watson Resource Center, Yorktown Heights, NY
Dwight M. Harris, Ph.D., Professor of Physics/Technology, Fairmont State College, Fairmont, WV
Rocco Martino, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board, XRT, Inc., Wayne, PA

Douglas Eveleigh, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Cook College, New Brunswick, NJ
Valerie Reed, Ph.D., Program Manager, Department of Energy, Washington, DC
Jonathan Woodward, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN (Dr. Woodward received the 1997 Christopher Columbus Foundation Award)

Howard Lester, Ph.D., Administrative Chair, Department of Film and Animation, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
Venkatesh Narayanamurti, Ph.D., Dean of Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA

Marek Elbaum, M.D., President, Electro-Optical Sciences, Irvington,
NY (Dr. Elbaum received the 1998 Christopher Columbus Foundation
Michael Gottesman, M.D., Deputy Director, Intermural Research,
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
James D. Otvos, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer & Founder, LipoMed,
Raleigh, NC (Dr. Otvos received the 1999 Christopher Columbus
Foundation Award)

Jack McNamara, Director for Corporate Technical Resources, Imation Corp., Oakdale, MN
William Rutherford, Forest Park Foundation, Peoria, IL

Lester A. Hoel, Ph.D., Hamilton Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Andrew Lang, President, Blue Dot Rental Services, Bridgeport, WV
Joe Lorio, Senior Editor, Automobile Magazine, Ann Arbor, MI


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