ICHS Achievement Awards

The International Immunocompromised Host Society has awarded, for the third time, a Lifetime Achievement award and a Young Investigator award two highly qualified ICHS members.  The awards were presented during a special ceremony of the 22nd  ICHS Symposium on Saturday, 10 September, 2022.  


Congratulations to the recipients! 


The International Immunocompromised Host Society
Lifetime Achievement Award


 Dr Per Ljungman, MD, PhD, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden,    Recipient of the 2022 ICHS Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr Ljungman is Professor emeritus in the Division of Hematology, Dept. of Medicine Huddinge, and a Senior physician in the Department of Cellular Therapy and Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.

Please allow me to portrait some aspects of Per’s outstanding performance as clinician and as clinical scientists over the last 4 decades that I had the pleasure of witnessing: My first contact with Per was in the early 1990s when Dr Pierre Reusser invited Per Ljungman to our weekly infectious disease and hematology Seminar in Basel. Per and Pierre had shared a common time at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC), a world-leading center in transplantation medicine and hematology and specifically in tackling life-threatening infections, both back then as much as it is now. This included cytomegalovirus (CMV) for obvious reasons. Per’s presentation was exemplary, brilliant, rewarding, raising in less than 45 min the bar of all aspects of our knowledge on clinical, diagnostic and therapeutic aspects of CMV.

My next encounter with Per was the 5th International Cytomegalovirus Conference in Stockholm (Sweden), May 21– 24, 1995, which Per had organized and which documented his role as a world leader in CMV as well as in clinical science. This was my first conference dedicated solely to one virus with a comprehensive program over 4 full days, presenting the latest cutting edge-knowledge at that time on basic CMV virology, molecular virology, pathogenesis, cell culture and animal models, diagnostic modalities, primary infections, pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, transplantation, reactivation, clinical impact, antiviral therapies and cumulated in the presentation of Dr Stan Riddell from the FHCRC on first clinical results of CMV-specific adoptive T cell transfer. I strongly felt that this conference reflected the most amazing and rewarding way of how to comprehensively approach, grasp and eventually deal with an infectious agent. Indeed, Per has made unmatched contributions since, how to best tackle CMV and which include a most recent antiviral drug study that defined a new standard in alloHCT.

Similarly, in a conference focusing on viral infections in alloHCT in 2003 at the MD Anderson Cancer Research Center in Houston, TX (USA), Per gave an outstanding presentation to this enormously professional and very dedicated audience. Per stood out as brilliant teacher, consultant, unmatched as highly esteemed colleague, being up-to-date, critical, realistic but at the same time enthusiastic and visionary. Since then, I have witnessed many other national and international conferences around the globe where organizers, chairs and attending audiences were fortunate and honored to have Per contribute and effectively raise the educational excellence of the respective event.

Dissemination of knowledge and excellence has been a trademark of Per’s work throughout his professional life which is documented in his contributions to several standard reference textbooks and includes the one that he organized himself as editor (“Transplant Infections” 4th Edition), which hopefully will be updated as 5th Edition in the near future. However, as the clinical science is not standing still, the understanding of infectious agents, and especially other viruses is ever increasing. Per met this continuously evolving challenge as a major driving force of the Infectious Disease Working Party (IDWP) of the European Bone Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) organization over many years. Per established European as well as international collaborations, publishing original data generated by EBMT collaborations as well as by international clinical studies mapping the epidemiology and risk factors of infections, with a not so secret love for viruses and vaccinations, and new antiviral agents, typically in prestigious journals like Lancet, NEJM, and Blood. His voice is heard, his critical thought is always highly valued, in panel or one on-one discussions, as a long-time Editor of BMT, as a reviewer for high-impact journals, as a critical sparring partner for studies, definitions, end-points, which he combined with an unmatched competence of judging the impact on daily medical practice. This translation of reviewing and grading evidence is really a trademark of Per’s profile and well reflected in his amazing ability of developing guidelines within the European Conference of Infections in Leukaemia (ECIL) together with Catherine Cordonnier and many renowned colleagues, within the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR), with the Committee for Advanced Therapy (CAT) of the European Medical Agency (EMA) and other institutions, but also in his very practical and personalized view of translating the evidence in “…How I treat….” in a well-known high-impact hematology journal.

 In view of these multiple activities benchmarking the highest quality, it is truely remarkable that Per Ljungman has been sharing his excellence with us, with the members of the International Immunocompromised Host Society (ICHS). In fact, we are most grateful for his regular contributions at each of the past symposia and for his taking the lead as a council member of the ICHS from 2000-2004, as vice president 2004-2006, as president elect 2006-2008, and as president 2008-2010 effectively organizing the 16th ICHS Symposium in 2010. We are humbled by his achievements and we are honored by his generous collegial sharing of knowledge and insights, mentoring younger colleagues throughout the world, representing the perfect role model of our vision, our mission and our principles at ICHS (https://www.ichs.org/About-Us) to the benefit of one of the most vulnerable patient populations


 

The International Immunocompromised Host Society
Young Investigator Award


  Dr Benjamin Teh, MBBS, PhD, Melbourne, Australia, recipient of the   2022    ICHS Young Investigator Award

Dr. Teh received his MBBS and PhD training at the University of Melbourne. He currently serves as an Infectious Diseases Physician at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, a consultant at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, the Antimicrobial Stewardship Physician at Epworth Health Care, and is a research fellow at the University of Melbourne and at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. In these roles he plays a crucial role in the care of cancer and hematopoietic cell transplant patients, and serves as an educator for students, trainees and graduate students. He is national recognized, and has received numerous national and international awards, including Victorian Premier’s Clinical Researcher Prize for Health and Medical Research, Robert Maple-Brown Research Establishment Fellowship, a Victorian Public Health Care Award, and the University of Melbourne Chancellor’s PhD Prize for his graduate work. In addition, he serves on a number of major Australian guidelines committees, including the Australian Antifungal Guidelines Working Group, the Australasian Society of Infectious Diseases’ Vaccination Special Interest Group and Australia and New Zealand Mycoses Interest Group, and the Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Network, among others. He has also helped to develop the Australasian Society of Infectious Diseases’ Immune compromised host Special Interest Group for which he serves as the inaugural Deputy Chair. He has also gained international recognition early in his career, and has been invited to serve on the European Expert Group on Vaccination of Immunocompromised Patients, consulted for the World Health Organization on antimicrobial stewardship, and served as a local chair of the organizing committee the ICHS’s meeting in Melbourne.

There is no question that Dr. Teh’s major impact within our community has been his early contributions to research. His main areas of interest have been fungal infections, vaccines and vaccine responsiveness among immunosuppressed patients, antibiotic stewardship and the use of novel diagnostic platforms for infections in cancer patients. As young investigator, his work has already led publications in major Infectious Diseases and Hematology/Oncology journals, including Lancet Haematology, Clinical Infectious Diseases (CID), Blood Advances and Clinical Microbiology and Infection, as examples. He has already published over 60 manuscripts, including 27 as first author and 12 as senior author. His paper in CID was an important addition to the literature as an example, as this randomized trail compared high-dose influenza vaccine versus standard dose vaccine in autologous transplant recipients, and found equivalent efficacy from both vaccine approaches early (~2 months) post-HCT. Not only did Dr. Teh manage to develop this trial, but the results have helped to shape our local guidelines in Seattle in addressing early and repeat vaccines among transplant patients. Research that has the ability to shape guidelines at international centers, is the essence of impact – and is a reflection of the quality of his research. His ongoing work (and funding) to develop new tools to predict infections in cancer patients, has the potential to have even more impact in our field – an area of focus that is desperately in need of new ideas, dedicated research and novel methodology. His paper in Clinical Translatonal Immunology which uses immune profiling as a potential tool for predicting infection in multiple myeloma patients, is an example of this early work which may have a larger impact on multiple patient populations. As a young faculty member, Dr. Teh has garnered over 12 million dollars in grant support for ongoing research that supports his research enterprise, and will allow him to continue to make contributions to our field.

Dr. Teh is a dedicated clinician who focuses his research and clinical work in immunosuppressed patients. He is a decorated academic, a highly productive researcher and a thought leader in his field, who is emerging on the international stage as an expert in our field. The International Immunocompromised Host Society (ICHS) Young Investigator Award 2022, focuses on those who are rising stars in research among these high-risk populations, and there is little doubt Dr Teh is among the brightest. His past impact, leadership, and future promise make him an ideal candidate for this award.


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