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Abbott Laboratories Awards Scholarships To Emerging Leaders In Rheumatology.

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. -- Abbott Laboratories has awarded the first Abbott Scholar Award in Rheumatology Research, a mentored research award to help develop future leaders in academic rheumatology, to recipients selected by an independent advisory panel. The ABBOTT SCHOLAR AWARD provides funding and support to physicians in the early stages of their careers in rheumatology and recognizes the importance of innovative research in the academic community. The award was established to support basic and translational research related to rheumatic diseases, including epidemiology, health services research in arthritis and related autoimmune disease, and innovative clinical research. It provides grant support for a two-year term, with a third year of support provided upon review of projects completed in the first two years.

"This award was designed to recognize and support academic rheumatologists early in their career who are poised to make a difference through innovative research," said John Varga, M.D., chairman of the Abbott Scholar Award Advisory Board, and professor of medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago. "We hope that the ABBOTT SCHOLAR AWARD will not only help young physicians advance in their careers but also may lead to novel discoveries in the field of rheumatology."

Recipients of the ABBOTT SCHOLAR AWARD for 2002:

Andrea L. Sestak, M.D., Ph.D., Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation Project title: "Identification of the Early Onset SLE Gene on 17p13"

Dr. Sestak is attempting to identify the gene involved in the development of lupus. She is examining genes that already appear to be linked to the disease.

Ajay Nirula, M.D., Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco Project title: "Regulation of T cell signaling pathways by CD28 and PDK-1"

Dr. Nirula is researching the role of the CD28 molecule in T cell function. He also is seeking to identify other molecules that normally cooperate with CD28. Blocking CD28 function in abnormally functioning T cells may be a way to help combat autoimmune disease.

Ioannis Tassiulas, M.D., Hospital for Special Surgery, New York Project title: "Dysregulation of IL-10 Signaling in Rheumatic Disease"

Dr. Tassiulas' project seeks to clarify how inefficient signaling between various immune system cells may impair the ability of Interleukin-10 (IL-10). One of the functions of IL-10 is to suppress tumor necrosis alpha (TNF-alpha), a factor in abnormal immune response.

"I'm very honored to be recognized as an ABBOTT SCHOLAR AWARD recipient," said Dr. Nirula. "The award is helping me to further my dream of a career in academic rheumatology."

"The ABBOTT SCHOLAR AWARD demonstrates Abbott's commitment to rheumatology and the patients who are living with related diseases," said Tim Walbert, divisional vice president and general manager, Abbott Immunology. "As a company with an active program to research and develop innovative medications, we think it is important to recognize the critical role of academic researchers who are helping to uncover breakthroughs in rheumatologic diseases."

An independent advisory panel of 12 clinical and research experts in rheumatology, working with a large panel of respected leaders in academic rheumatology, selected these outstanding recipients. To qualify for the award, candidates needed to demonstrate a commitment to a career in academic rheumatology, a plan for career development and commitment from their mentor and institution. In addition, candidates must have agreed to commit at least 80 percent of their time to research and training.

Application Deadlines

As part of its long-term commitment to immunological diseases research and treatment, Abbott Laboratories is seeking applicants for the future grant cycles of the ABBOTT SCHOLAR AWARD. The next application submission deadline is September 15, 2003. Three award recipients will be selected each year to receive a fellowship starting at $65,500 per year for up to three years. More information on the Abbott Scholar Award is available at or by calling (201) 553-8820.

Abbott's Commitment to Immunology

Abbott Laboratories is committed to the discovery and development of innovative treatments for immunologic diseases. Founded in 1989, the Abbott Bioresearch Center (ABC) in Worcester, Mass., is a world-class discovery and basic research facility committed to finding new treatments for autoimmune diseases. The Abbott Bioresearch Center employs leading-edge technologies, discovery and manufacturing processes, including proprietary phage antibody display technology and mammalian cell expression systems to produce fully- human monoclonal antibodies.

Abbott Laboratories is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals, nutritionals, and medical products, including devices and diagnostics. The company employs approximately 70,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries.

Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's Web site at


CONTACT: Cindy Resman, +1-847-935-9545, or Tina Ventura, +1-847-935-9390, both for Abbott Laboratories

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Date:Sep 30, 2002
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