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April 3, 2008

March of Dimes gives Peter Byers lifetime achievement award


Peter H. Byers, UW professor of medicine in the Division of Medical Genetics, professor of pathology, and adjunct professor of genome sciences, has received the March of Dimes/Colonel Harland Sanders Award for lifetime achievement in the field of genetic sciences. The award was presented last month at the Annual Clinical Genetics Meeting of the American College of Medical Genetics in Phoenix.


Byers is an attending physician at the UW Medical Center where he is the director of the Medical Genetics Clinic and of the residency program in Medical Genetics. His primary clinical and research specialty is inherited connective tissue disorders, and he is an international authority on the diagnosis and treatment of osteogenesis imperfecta, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and Marfan syndrome. His laboratory established the concept of parental mosaicism as the reason for the unexpected recurrence of dominant disorders in siblings born to unaffected parents, and he has worked on the pathway from nucleotide to clinical phenotypes for mutations in collagen genes expressed in bone and vascular tissues. He is among those who established guidelines for the emerging field of molecular genetic pathology, now an established medical specialty, and is a leader in the application of molecular genetic analysis to clinical problems.


A graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Byers came to UW in 1974 as a fellow in medical genetics and biochemistry. He joined the faculty in 1977 and became a full professor in 1986. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and American Association of Physicians. He is a past president of the American Society of Human Genetics and of the American Board of Medical Genetics, and he served as editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Human Genetics from 1993 to 1999.


Established in 1986, the March of Dimes/Colonel Harland Sanders Award is given annually to an individual whose lifetime body of research, education, or clinical service has made a significant contribution to the genetic sciences.


The March of Dimes (www.marchofdimes.com) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.