2006 - Morris Reichlin, MD, MACR

The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) presented to Morris "Moe" Reichlin, M.D., M.A.C.R., the Evelyn V. Hess Research Award, in recognition of his lifetime achievement in the field of lupus. Dr. Reichlin is Director of the Clinical Immunology Laboratory and Member of the Arthritis and Immunology Program at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The award is presented annually by the LFA to a medical researcher whose body of work has advanced understanding of lupus, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and tissue damage to virtually any organ system in the body, and affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans. The LFA presented the award to Dr. Reichlin on Monday, November 13 in Washington, DC, during a dinner on Capitol Hill that honored nearly 200 scientific opinion leaders in lupus.

Dr. Reichlin has been a leader in lupus research for more than five decades. Much of the modern understanding of antibody specificity can be attributed to his early studies and related work. For many years Dr. Reichlin and his colleagues have studied the various autoimmune responses in people with lupus, to better understand what factors cause the disease in order to find new and better ways to treat it. His lab research is most focused on how and why the autoantibodies that cause lupus are produced.

Dr. Reichlin’s seminal research on the autoantigens Ro, La, Sm and nRNP provided the underpinnings of the discoveries of epitope spreading in lupus. This has allowed understanding of how lupus progresses from benign autoimmunity to a clinically severe disease. He has developed tests for lupus and maintains one of the largest clinical diagnostic laboratories for lupus in the United States.

Dr. Reichlin also has been a leader in unraveling the pathogenesis of lupus, and of disease progression in particular. Of the nearly 500 scientific papers, articles and abstracts he has written, seven are among the 200 most cited original research papers ever written about lupus.

Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Reichlin has inspired and mentored many leading scientists and present-day lupus thought leaders. He is responsible for building one of the nation’s strongest lupus research centers with more than 230 personnel that encompasses the Lupus Multiplex Registry and Repository, the Oklahoma Lupus Clinic, and the Specialized Center of Research Excellence in Lupus.

He also has served as invited lecturer and visiting professor more than 150 times in his distinguished career, delivering a number of keynote addresses at scientific meetings, and providing further evidence of his overall impact on the field of medicine.

Dr. Reichlin is a Master of the American College of Rheumatology. He received the Bunim Medal for his research accomplishments from the American Rheumatology Association, the Distinguished Investigator Award from the American College of Rheumatology, and the Lee. S. Howley, Sr. Prize for Arthritis Research from the Arthritis Foundation.

“Dr. Reichlin is highly deserving of this award,” said Dr. Gary Gilkeson, Professor of Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina and Chair of the Lupus Foundation of America Medical-Scientific Advisory Council. “Dr. Reichlin is clearly one of the leaders in research in lupus and has maintained that position over a number of years. His observations on autoantibodies and the tests he developed to detect them are critical components of the diagnosis of lupus that are used today. He has served as a mentor for a number of successful investigators and has been a tireless advocate of lupus research.”