Pediatric research society honors VUMC’s Polack
By Jessica Ennis
January 29, 2010
Vanderbilt's Fernando Polack, M.D., has been named to receive the Society for Pediatric Research's 2010 E. Mead Johnson Award. Each year the national award, given since 1939, honors two individuals for their clinical and laboratory research achievements in pediatrics.
“The award is the highest recognition for outstanding achievement in pediatric clinical and laboratory research given to a pediatrician. This award marks Dr. Polack as one of the most accomplished researchers of his generation,” said James Crowe, M.D., professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology and Immunology and Director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center.
“We are very fortunate to have such an eminent academician in the Department of Pediatrics and the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center. He has greatly expanded our capabilities as an institution to perform critical basic and translational studies of viral pathogenesis and immunity.”
Polack, the Cesar Milstein Associate Professor of Pediatrics, came from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in 2009, where he was associate professor of the Division of Infectious Diseases and director of the Pan-American Infant Network in the Department of Pediatrics.
“Fernando is a wonderfully energetic and imaginative scientist who brings tremendous intellect and passion to focus on important clinical problems in infectious diseases in children,” said Jonathan D. Gitlin, M.D., James C. Overall Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University. “He richly deserves this recognition. I am truly delighted for him and for Vanderbilt.”
Crowe and Gitlin are past recipients the E. Mead Johnson Award; Crowe in 2006 and Gitlin in 1998. The award will be presented to Polack during the Pediatric Academic Societies' Annual Meeting in May in Vancouver.
Currently, Polack is doing research in Argentina and at the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center and serves as director of the INFANT Foundation in Buenos Aires. He earned his medical degree from the University of Buenos Aires School of Medicine in Argentina.
His experience fueled his interest in finding successful vaccines for childhood illnesses like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). He has authored or co-authored dozens of peer-reviewed articles and abstracts. He serves on the editorial board for Environmental Health Perspectives and is an ad-hoc reviewer for nearly two dozen scientific journals. He is a member of Society for Pediatric Research, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Society Sociedad Argentina de Pediatria and American Society for Microbiology.