Michelle Le Beau, PhD
Maria Domenica Cappellini, MD
The American Society of Hematology (ASH) recognized Michelle Le Beau, PhD, of the University of Chicago and the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Maria Domenica Cappellini, MD, of the University of Milan in Italy, with the 2020 Henry M. Stratton Medal for their contributions to basic and clinical/translational hematology research.
Dr. Le Beau has dedicated her research career to cytogenetic and molecular analysis of hematologic malignancies for the purpose of risk stratification and treatment selection. Focusing on cytogenetic aspects of myelodysplastic syndromes, she was key to the development of the first International Prognostic Scoring System classification for the disease. Dr. Le Beau is also recognized for her work in defining the genetic basis of therapy-related myeloid neoplasms and in identifying tumor-suppressor genes involved in the deletions of chromosome 5.
Dr. Cappellini is being recognized for her research in novel therapeutic challenges for thalassemias and sickle cell disease, including gene therapy and other pharmacologic treatments. These new treatments could significantly change the survival and quality of life of people suffering from these diseases. She has been involved in translational and clinical research focused on thalassemia for nearly 4 decades. Through the advent of techniques of molecular biology in the 1980s, Dr. Cappellini characterized the genotypes and phenotypes of beta-thalassemia major, beta-thalassemia intermedia, alpha-thalassemia, and rare combinations of thalassemias that informed researchers’ understanding of the natural history of these disorders and allowed for molecular-based genetic counseling and prenatal diagnosis.