Michael A. Gimbrone, Jr., MD to Receive 2024 Frieda Robscheit-Robbins Award for Exceptional Achievement in the Advancement of Women in Experimental Pathology

Michael Gimbrone

April 28, 2023 — The 2024 recipient of the ASIP Frieda Robscheit-Robbins Award for Exceptional Achievement in the Advancement of Women in Experimental Pathology is Dr. Michael A. Gimbrone, the Elsie T. Friedman Professor of Pathology in the Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, and Director of the Center for Excellence in Vascular Biology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston, MA).

The Frieda Robscheit-Robbins Award for Exceptional Achievement in the Advancement of Women in Experimental Pathology recognizes exceptional achievement in the advancement of women experimental pathologists during their career, including achievements related to training/mentoring women in experimental pathology, leadership within the field of experimental pathology, service to the community in the promotion of science, innovation in the recruitment and retention of women in experimental pathology, and contributions to the Society. This award is named for Dr. Freida Robscheit-Robbins who achieved much in her long career as an educator, researcher, and mentor. Among her many achievements, Dr. Robscheit-Robbins was a pioneer in the leadership in the American Society for Experimental Pathology (precursor to the ASIP). She was the first woman President of the ASEP and served the Society in other elected positions, including Secretary-Treasurer, as well as representative to the FASEB Board of Directors.

Dr. Gimbrone received his A.B. degree in Zoology (Summa cum laude) from Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) in 1965 and his M.D. degree (Magna cum laude, with Honors in a Special Field) from Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA) in 1970. After completing an Internship at the Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, MA) and a Research Fellowship at the Children's Hospital Medical Center (Boston, MA), he served as a Staff Associate at the National Cancer Institute (Bethesda, MD). Dr. Gimbrone subsequently returned to the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston for residency training in pathology, and then rose through the academic ranks to Professor of Pathology in 1985. In 1976, he established the Vascular Pathophysiology Research Laboratory, which became the Vascular Research Division of the Department of Pathology at the Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston, MA) in 1985.

Dr. Gimbrone's research focuses on the mechanisms of vascular disease, in particular the role of the endothelial cell in complex disease processes such as atherosclerosis, thrombosis and inflammation. He was among the first to establish reproducible methods for the in vitro culture of endothelium and smooth muscle from human blood vessels and to utilize the tools of modern cell biology and molecular biology to dissect their functions in health and disease. His laboratory has characterized the cytokine-activated endothelial phenotype and discovered endothelial-leukocyte adhesion molecules important in inflammation and atherogenesis. Most recently his group has focused on the molecular mechanisms linking biomechanical stimulation and endothelial gene regulation in atherogenesis. Dr. Gimbrone’s research program has been very productive. He has published more than 250 research articles, book chapters, and reviews in the field of vascular biology. Dr. Gimbrone’s research has been highly impactful and high cites – his H-index ins 133 and his publications have been cited >80,000 times.

He is a recipient of an Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association, and the Warner Lambert/Parke Davis Award in Experimental Pathology from the ASIP in 1982 (this is the precursor to the current ASIP Outstanding Investigator Award). He is a Past-President of the American Society for Investigative Pathology (1992-1993), the founding President of the North American Biology Organization (NAVBO), and has served on the Board of Directors of FASEB, as well as various NIH study sections and national advisory committees. In 1993, he received the Basic Research Prize from the American Heart Association; in 1994, a MERIT Award from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute and an unrestricted Cardiovascular Research Award from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Institute; in 1995, the Pasarow Award for Research in Cardiovascular Diseases. In 1997, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and in 1999, to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. In 1999, he was a co-recipient (with Dr. Judah Folkman) of the J. Allyn Taylor International Prize in Medicine, recognizing his contributions to the establishment of the field of Vascular Biology. He received the Earl Benditt Lifetime Achievement Award in Vascular Biology in 2002, the King Faisal International Prize in Medicine (Vascular Biology and Inflammation), and the Okamoto Award from the Japan Vascular Disease Research Foundation in 2006, the Rous-Whipple Award from the American Society for Investigative Pathology in 2007, and the Gold-Headed Cane Award from the American Society for Investigative Pathology in 2017.

Dr. Gimbrone has an impressive record of mentoring and supporting women in pathology – both clinicians, scientists, and physician-scientists. The letters of support contained in his nomination package named numerous women with exceptional careers and accomplishments that benefited from Dr. Gimbrone’s guidance. In her letter of nomination, Dr. Pat D’Amore (Charles L. Schepens Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School) described Dr. Gimbrone’s commitment to promoting women in pathology through his many academic roles over the years: “…Dr. Gimbrone has been a strong advocate for women in pathology through training and mentoring, as well as via the recruitment and retention of women in experimental pathology…” Dr. Marsha A. Moses (Julia Dyckman Andrus Professor, Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School) “…Throughout his career, Dr. Gimbrone has been an outstanding mentor to numerous women who have gone on to become accomplished and internationally recognized scientists and clinicians in their own right…It is widely appreciated that their success in inextricably linked to Dr. Gimbrone’s inspired and generous guidance throughout their careers…” In her letter of support, Dr. Mel B. Feany (Professor of Pathology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital) commented on her long tenure in Dr. Gimbrone’s department and his “…generosity in support…” of her career and the challenges encountered at every stage of career. She went on to mention Dr. Gimbrone’s “…thoughtfulness in fostering the careers of junior physician-scientists…” and his encouragement for her “…to serve as a role model for the residents…” Dr. Elena Aikawa (Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School) commented that “…Dr. Gimbrone has been instrumental in developing and supporting the careers of many female pathologists over the years…and continues to be a leader, mentor, and inspiration to women in science at Harvard and beyond…” Dr. Aikawa made a particular note about Dr. Gimbrone’s support of “…the careers of women and young investigators from other countries who yearn to establish themselves in the United States…” In his letter of support, Dr. Guillermo Garcia-Cardena (Associate Professor of Pathology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital) noted that “…Dr. Gimbrone’s impact on the fields of vascular biology and experimental pathology has been multiplied many times over by the fruits of his personal commitment as an enthusiastic mentor and role model…his list of trainees is extensive and their appointments in academia and leadership roles in biotechnology/pharma is truly impressive…” Dr. Nitzan Resnick (Interdisciplinary Curriculum and Instructional Coach and Consultant - iSTEAM) noted how Dr. Gimbrone’s mentorship went beyond the academics. She described him as “…a visionary scientist, an inspiring mentor who instilled in his lab members a growth mindset, calculated risk taking and professionalism, and a compassionate boss who highly valued a healthy balance of personal and professional life…” She went on to say that Dr. Gimbrone’s “…success as a mentor belongs in part to his huge heart…being a female scientist is never easy and was less so in the past…being a female scientist with a baby is even harder…Dr. Gimbrone saw the importance of balancing personal/family and professional life.

Dr. Bill Muller (Janardan K. Reddy, MD Endowed Professor of Pathology, Northwestern University) nicely summarized Dr. Gimbrone’s enduring legacy: “…He has been a mentor to many who are considered to be leaders in academic pathology and particularly in the field of vascular biology…Early on, Dr. Gimbrone was advancing the careers of women in these fields… Dr. Gimbrone, through thought, word, and (especially) deed, embodies all of the characteristics that are honored by this award…”

Dr. Gimbrone will receive the 2024 ASIP Frieda Robscheit-Robbins Award for Exceptional Achievement in the Advancement of Women in Experimental Pathology during the 2024 Annual Meeting of the ASIP in Baltimore, MD (April 2024).