Heritage College researcher wins top endocrinology award

Sep 6, 2018

John J. Kopchick, Ph.D., a faculty researcher with the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, has been honored by the Endocrine Society with one of its prestigious 2019 Laureate Awards, considered the top honors in the field of endocrinology.

Kopchick, who is Goll-Ohio Eminent Scholar and Distinguished Professor of Molecular Biology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the Heritage College and principal investigator at the Edison Biotechnology Institute at Ohio University, received the Laureate Award for Outstanding Innovation. He is one of 13 leading endocrinologists chosen by the Endocrine Society to win a Laureate Award this year.

Darlene Berryman, Ph.D., R.D., L.D., Heritage College associate dean for research and innovation and a longtime research colleague of Kopchick’s, called the award an exceptionally fitting one. “Innovation requires doing things differently, exercising authentic leadership, and recognizing the need to surround yourself with a vibrant network of individuals who will challenge you and provide new perspectives,” she said. “John has embodied these characteristics through his discoveries, his mentorship of countless trainees, and his collaborations with scientists around the globe. I can’t think of an award more appropriate for John than one that celebrates his role as an innovator.”   

The Outstanding Innovation Award recognizes endocrinologists who have demonstrated innovation and entrepreneurship to advance endocrine research or practice in support of the field of endocrinology, patients and society at large. An internationally renowned expert in the field of growth hormone research, Kopchick discovered and characterized the molecular aspects of growth hormone receptor antagonists, leading to the development of the acromegaly drug Somavert. Based on this and other discoveries, he also genetically engineered growth hormone-resistant mice, which suggest a link between the effects of growth hormone and aging.

Kopchick has received many awards and honors during his career, including the British Society for Endocrinology’s Transatlantic Medal ; the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Riland Medal ; the AMVETS Silver Helmet Award ;  and honorary doctoral degrees from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Aarhus University in Denmark. In 2013 he was elected president of the Growth Hormone Research Society, becoming the first basic scientist to hold this office.

In 2012, the Heritage College announced  that it was naming a newly endowed research chair in Kopchick’s honor, the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation John J. Kopchick, Ph.D., Endowed Eminent Research Chair. The $5 million endowment was made possible by both the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation and Ohio University. Earlier this year, the college announced its new John J. Kopchick Distinguished Lecture, created in honor of Kopchick’s love of learning and impact on translational research throughout the world.

Established in 1944, the Endocrine Society’s Laureate Awards recognize the highest achievements in the field of endocrinology, including groundbreaking research and innovations in clinical care. The Society will present the awards to the winners at ENDO 2019, its 101st Annual Meeting & Expo, which takes place March 23-26, 2019, in New Orleans, La.