The SPARTAN Research Career Achievement Award is awarded annually for outstanding contributions to clinical, translational, and/or basic science in spondyloarthritis. The award recognizes the (1) development of a cohesive, major research program, (2) innovation and (3) demonstrating research productivity with impactful publications.
Dr. Joel Taurog, MD, recipient of the 2021 Research Career Achievement Award
Dr. Joel Taurog is recognized for his contributions to understanding role of HLA-B27 in the pathogenesis of ankylosing spondylitis. In the late 1980s, Dr. Taurog created the human HLA-B27 transgenic rat model. Over the next three decades, the innovative work in his laboratory at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas yielded major insight into the pathogenesis of spondyloarthritis. Using various strains of HLA-B27 transgenic rats, the Taurog investigated the role of a variety of lymphocyte subsets and of intestinal microbiota in the disease. The HLA-B27 transgenic rat model has been adopted by many other labs and has played a major role in the quest for understanding the HLA-B27 association with spondyloarthritis. Dr. Taurog retired from his academic position in early 2021.
Muhammad Asim Khan
The Laurie Savage Lifetime Achievement Award was created in 2017 to honor the contributions of individuals with exceptional contributions to the field of Spondyloarthritis. The award is named for Laurie M. Savage, M.S. FLE., long-time Executive Director of the Spondylitis Association of America (SAA). Laurie was instrumental in organizing the professional community to further the cause of spondyloarthritis through SPARTAN, first as a program of the SAA, and later, as an independently incorporated organization. In the words of SPARTAN Board of Director members: “She was an amazing force for our patients, and in a sense, SPARTAN’s parent figure”. Laurie gave a lifetime of work to spondyloarthritis, both in support of patients and also research. She was a visionary for the field and gave spondyloarthritis a face in North America, when other organizations representing rheumatic diseases did not. Laurie passed away on Sunday, December 30, 2018, after her three-year-long battle with cancer. She fought cancer like she did everything else – with optimism and fearlessness – and a determination to not allow it to interfere with her life and passions.