...Changing The World

Gary K. Michelson, Peter J. Hotez, Maria Bottazzi et al.; Humanitarian SABIN Award [MMRF] [2015-03-25]

Context

On March 25th 2015, renowned orthopedic spinal surgeon and inventor Dr. Gary K. Michelson is awarded the Albert B. Sabin Humanitarian Award by the SABIN Vaccine Institute in acknowledgement of the significant, continual financial contributions he has made to their research programs including the Michelson Neglected Disease Vaccine Initiative.

Transcript

Peter J. Hotez: This artist basically talked to all of our scientists and said, “What are the words that come to mind when you think about working here in our unit?” Poverty, community —

Female: Perseverance.

Peter J. Hotez: Perseverance, awareness, compassion.

Maria Bottazzi: That’s a great idea.

Gary K. Michelson: This is what we were talking about on the walk over. This is what we need to do. Yeah, it’s great.

Michael Marine: Dr. Michelson is exactly the kind of person we want to recognize and honor through the Albert B. Sabin Humanitarian Award. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing firsthand the game-changing impact that his support has made in bringing NTDs to the consciousness of global decision-makers through the Michelson Fund for NTDs Global Awareness.

We count ourselves very fortunate to have Dr. Michelson by our side in working toward a world free of needless human suffering from vaccine-preventable and neglected tropical diseases. Together we are delivering on the promise of a healthier future for the nearly two billion people still plagues by NTDs and vaccine-preventable diseases. Thank you, Dr. Michelson, for all that you do.

And I’d also like to thank our guests for joining us this evening. Thank you very much.

Axel Hoos: Good evening. I just wanted to take a moment and welcome you for this wonderful event tonight. I’m Axel Hoos. I’m the interim chairman of the SABIN Vaccine Institute, and I’m welcoming you to the awards dinner for the SABIN Humanitarian Award that we are having the opportunity to give to Dr. Gary K. Michelson tonight.

Now one word about the SABIN Humanitarian Award: the award commemorates the work of Albert B. Sabin, who has developed the first vaccine against polio that has helped to almost eradicate polio worldwide, which is a very important contribution to global human health and is a model that we like to look at when we try to do the same for other, um, vaccinatable diseases.

So with having said that, one word about Dr. Michelson. I have met you the very first time today. Besides the financial contributions you have made to SABIN that have enabled us to drive some of our programs forward, I’ve been very impressed with your intellectual curiosity and your drive to tackle some of the problems we face in a very different way than we conventionally do. And I think there’s a lot more we can do together and I’m very pleased that this opportunity exists.

Peter J. Hotez: So Gary represents to me the type of person that I admire most who’s a scientist and a physician, but also strives towards humanitarian goals. I often like to quote Dr. Albert Sabin who once said, “A scientist is also a human being, cannot rest while knowledge, which might relieve suffering, rests on the shelf,” and that’s I think how Gary and I really got introduced.

So he’s now receiving, this evening the Albert B. Sabin Humanitarian Award. And, I don’t know if Gary knows this, but only two other people have gotten the Albert B. Sabin Humanitarian Award. Are you ready? Richard Holbrook and Paul Simon.

Male 1: I hope you can sing.

Peter J. Hotez: I’m absolutely thrilled you’re linked with us, Gary, and, um, I feel very, very honored that, um, you’re a part of the SABIN family, the SABIN team at Baylor and Texas Children’s Hospital. Yeah, we’re just absolutely lucky to have you.

Dr. Michelson is supporting us and advising us — so it’s not just support; it’s also advice — on how to tackle the most common afflictions of the world’s poor.

So if you think about the 1.4 billion people in the world that live on no money, live below the World Bank poverty figure of $1.25 a day, every single of those individuals is infected with the diseases that we study here at SABIN Vaccine Institute.

This economist that we’ve worked with Hoyt Bleakley, at the University of Chicago has now done an analysis showing that chronic hookworm infection reduces your future wage earning by 40 percent. So the other message of these diseases, which is a little hard to — ’cause a lot of these are not killer diseases.

Gary K. Michelson: If nothing else, they should care about the economic impact. That’s what they’re all about.

Peter J. Hotez: Right, right. So these are the diseases that trap the bottom billion in poverty. They’re also the ones that trap Americans in poverty too.

Gary K. Michelson: I’ve actually gone around a good part of the world, and up until two or three years ago when I read Peter’s article, I had no idea about this.

So how could that possibly — how could the industrialized world be so ignorant about this? I think we don’t see it, because these societies that we live in don’t wanna see it.

Peter J. Hotez: What’s amazing about what Gary does is he just doesn’t go after the high-profile diseases that make the cover of TIME magazine. He’s actually getting to the heart of what causes poverty in the developing world.

Maria Bottazzi: This is Maureen Merrifield.

Gary K. Michelson: Hi, how are you?

Maureen Merrifield: Nice to meet you. How are you? Good.

Maria Bottazzi: Maureen is my right-hand side for all the regulatory components when we have to deal with FDA —

Peter J. Hotez: So we have to provide annual reports to the FDA. The FDA will ask us questions, and it’s very prescriptive how you do it. You can’t just pick up the phone and answer the question. It has to be answered in a certain way and —

Maria Bottazzi: Yeah, there’s an etiquette. These machines actually help them really design how to clean that —

Peter J. Hotez: This is the ÄKTA avant system, so this is what Texas Children’s bought us, which is great.

These will allow you to look at multiple column resins and separate proteins on the basis of charge or mass, or charge-mass ratio, and do it in a very standardized way so you get the same result each time.

Male 2: So this is our analytical section. We do all our protein characterization down here. We have some new technologies. We have here a CD, circular dichroism, where we look at secondary structures of proteins.

We have down there an HBLC hooked to [inaudible] looking at size of the proteins, but also looking through dynamic light scattering and static light scattering. For example, looking if there are, for example, glycans around the proteins. We also have a —

Peter J. Hotez: So he’s really pioneering how to use biophysical methods to analyze your vaccine.

Maria Bottazzi: So we have different scales so we can go from one-liter scale, which — this is a manifold, so the same machine can actually optimize different parameters.

Then we go scale up to five liters, and in the other room I can show you the 10-liter, and then in this one is our master 20-liter. So this is exactly the same scale and fermenter that you would find in a manufacturing facility.

Peter J. Hotez: This is the minimum scale you would need to get enough material to do a Phase I trial.

Gary K. Michelson: People are living on the razor’s edge of starvation, and in addition to that, there’re being eaten from the inside out by worms who are stealing the little bit of nutrition that they have. It’s unconscionable.

Peter J. Hotez: It takes a village to make a vaccine. Out of all the different areas that —

Gary K. Michelson: You’re preaching to the preacher.

Maria Bottazzi: Yes, exactly.

Gary K. Michelson: I mean this is exactly what we’re talking about for this conference. It doesn’t matter that they’re not working on vaccines. It’s not what we need to be doing. We just need this.

Press Excerpt

Dr. Gary K. Michelson Receives Albert B. Sabin Humanitarian Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. — March 25, 2015 — The Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin) will present the Albert B. Sabin Humanitarian Award to Gary K. Michelson, MD, a distinguished orthopedic spinal surgeon and inventor, in recognition of his extraordinary philanthropy and commitment toward the control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) through high-level advocacy and vaccine research and development. He will be honored today at a private event with Sabin’s executive leadership, Board of Trustees and key members of the scientific community in Houston, Texas.

“We are pleased to honor Dr. Gary K. Michelson whose advocacy, research and tremendous generosity has enabled millions of people to live healthier, more productive lives,” said Peter J. Hotez, MD, PhD, president of Sabin. “An innovator and entrepreneur, Dr. Michelson’s impact on the field of science and technology is undeniable. We also greatly admire his leadership in the advancement of science through philanthropy — a quality that distinguishes him among scientists. This commitment is evident in his work with various foundations and significant investments in cutting-edge medical research.”

His inventions, including surgical instruments known as “Michelson devices,” are widely acknowledged for making spinal surgery safer, faster, more effective and less expensive. He continues to push for innovative advancements through philanthropic investments in medical research and bioscience that could potentially help some of the world’s poorest, most marginalized communities.

“If out of sight is out of mind, then I can think of no area of medicine where so very many people are being adversely impacted that is more in need of being brought to the consciousness of the rest of the world,” said Dr. Michelson, in reference to the scourge of NTDs.

Since his retirement from medical practice, Dr. Michelson has fully dedicated himself to philanthropic efforts and founded several charitable organizations that focus primarily on genetic research, an open architecture platform for higher education textbooks, and animal welfare. In addition, the Michelson Medical Research Foundation, which supports forward thinking initiatives in medical science, has made generous investments in the Michelson Fund for NTDs Global Awareness and the Michelson Neglected Disease Vaccine Initiative. These investments have raised awareness and mobilized new resources to increase treatment programs for NTD control and elimination and supported game-changing vaccine research and development initiatives for NTDs, respectively.

The Albert B. Sabin Humanitarian Award recognizes an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to reduce needless human suffering from vaccine-preventable and neglected tropical diseases. The award commemorates the legacy of Dr. Albert B. Sabin, who developed the oral live virus polio vaccine that is widely heralded for contributing to the near eradication of polio worldwide.

Previous recipients include doctors and researchers, such as Franklin H. Top Jr., MD, and Wayne T. Hockmeyer, PhD, as well as philanthropists from the media and entertainment industry, among them Larry King and Paul Simon.


About the Sabin Vaccine Institute

The Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization of scientists, researchers and advocates dedicated to reducing needless human suffering from vaccine-preventable and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Since its founding in 1993 in honor of Dr. Albert B. Sabin, the developer of the oral polio vaccine, Sabin has been at the forefront of global efforts to eliminate, prevent and cure infectious and neglected tropical diseases.

Sabin develops new vaccines, advocates for increased use of existing vaccines and promotes expanded access to affordable medical treatments in collaboration with governments, academic institutions, scientists, medical professionals and other non-profit organizations. For more information please visit www.sabin.org.

Gary K. Michelson, Peter J. Hotez, Maria Bottazzi; 2015 SABIN Humanitarian Award [2015-03-25] {#0138B} (Credit: Anna Grove)
On March 25th 2015, Dr. Gary K. Michelson was awarded the Albert B. Sabin Humanitarian Award by the SABIN Vaccine Institute. Left: Maria Elena Bottazzi, Center: Gary Karlin Michelson, Right: Peter Hotez. {#0138B} (Credit: Anna Grove)

Gary K. Michelson, Peter Hotez; SABIN Humanitarian Award 2015 On March 26th 2015, Dr. Gary K. Michelson was awarded the Albert B. Sabin Humanitarian Award by the SABIN Vaccine Institute. Left: Peter Hotez, Right: Gary Karlin Michelson.
Gary K. Michelson; SABIN Humanitarian Award 2015: Peter Hotez, Gary Karlin Michelson & Maria Elena Bottazzi [114] Left: Peter Hotez, Center: Gary Karlin Michelson, Right: Maria Elena Bottazzi.

Gary K. Michelson; SABIN Humanitarian Award 2015: Peter Thoren, Ann Hotez, Peter Hotez, Gary Karlin Michelson & Maria Elena Bottazzi; Marc Shapiro, Michael Marine [69] (Front to Camera) Peter Thoren, Ann Hotez, Peter Hotez, Gary Karlin Michelson & Maria Elena Bottazzi; (Back to Camera) Marc Shapiro, Michael Marine.

Quotes
Dr. Albert B. Sabin

A scientist is also a human being, cannot rest while knowledge, which might relieve suffering, rests on the shelf.

Gary K. Michelson

People are living on the razor’s edge of starvation, and in addition to that, there’re being eaten from the inside out by worms who are stealing the little bit of nutrition that they have. It’s unconscionable.

Michael Marine

We count ourselves very fortunate to have Dr. Michelson by our side in working toward a world free of needless human suffering from vaccine-preventable and neglected tropical diseases.

Peter J. Hotez

What’s amazing about what Gary does is he just doesn’t go after the high-profile diseases that make the cover of TIME magazine. He’s actually getting to the heart of what causes poverty in the developing world.

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