Gyongyi Szabo, MD, PhD, Chief Academic Officer, awarded the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award from the American Liver Foundation

Chantal English

FEBRUARY 25, 2021

Gyongyi Szabo, MD, PhD
Gyongyi Szabo, MD, PhD
BOSTON – Gyongyi Szabo, MD, PhD, Hon. ScD, Chief Academic Officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Beth Israel Lahey Health (BILH), has received the American Liver Foundation's 2020 Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award. This national award is considered one of the highest honors in the field of liver disease research and annually recognizes one individual who has demonstrated outstanding professional and academic achievements.

Szabo, an internationally renowned expert in liver immunology and inflammation, was awarded the DSAA in recognition of her efforts to identify potential new therapies for severe alcohol-associated hepatitis and non-alcoholic liver disease. Szabo's research focuses on inflammation — a fundamental element of all chronic liver diseases leading to fibrosis and cirrhosis — which contributes to the progression of non-alcoholic liver disease to Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH), which is now the most common liver disease in the United States. Excessive inflammation in alcohol-associated hepatitis leads to high mortality and there is no effective treatment for this devastating disease.

"I am humbled to receive this highest honor that recognizes scientific contributions to understand liver diseases," said Szabo, who is also the Mitchell T. Rabkin, MD, Chair, Professor of Medicine and Faculty Dean at Harvard Medical School. "This award reflects exceptional work by talented scientists, graduate students, post-docs, and scientific and clinical collaborators with whom I have had the privilege to work with over the years. The goal of our research is to translate scientific discoveries into new therapies and extraordinary care for patients with liver diseases."

The Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award is a prestigious award honoring a scientist who has made a major contribution to liver disease research in basic science or its application toward the prevention, treatment or cure of liver disease. The award was first given in 1997 to Francis V. Chisari, MD, of the Scripps Research Institute and has been awarded annually ever since. Szabo joins a prestigious list of past recipients whose work has changed millions of lives through their innovation and vision.

"Dr. Szabo is an accomplished physician, scientist and mentor," said Mark Zeidel, MD, Chair of the Department of Medicine at BIDMC. "As our Chief Academic Officer, her passion and expertise are instrumental to enhancing Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's reputation for excellence in patient-centered care, discovery and education. Dr. Szabo's Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award is well-deserved. During her career, she has made several important and novel discoveries furthering our overall understanding of liver disease. All of us at BIDMC extend our warm congratulations to Dr. Szabo on this prestigious and thoroughly deserved honor."

The American Liver Foundation was established in 1976 by the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease to address the rising incidence of liver disease and the lack of awareness among both the general public and the medical community. The mission, the programs and the services provided by American Liver Foundation make a measurable difference in the fight against liver disease by providing financial support for medical research, education for medical professionals, and advocacy and information for patients and their families, and by creating public awareness campaigns about liver wellness and disease prevention.

Szabo received the award at the American Liver Foundation's 45th Anniversary Leadership Celebration – held virtually earlier this month. During the celebration, Lorraine Stiehl, CEO of The American Liver Foundation, spoke about the next chapter for the foundation. "The Board and I are determined to meet the rising need with more education and more services for the expanding liver community. New partnerships are critical to our success. The liver doesn't work in isolation. Institutions shouldn't either," said Stiehl. "The ALF will be embarking on collaborations with our peer organizations in kidney, heart, diabetes — and in so many other patient communities that are connected to the work we do on behalf of patients. Our voices are stronger when we all come together."

About Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a leading academic medical center, where extraordinary care is supported by high-quality education and research. BIDMC is a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and consistently ranks as a national leader among independent hospitals in National Institutes of Health funding. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, a health care system that brings together academic medical centers and teaching hospitals, community and specialty hospitals, more than 4,800 physicians and 38,000 employees in a shared mission to expand access to great care and advance the science and practice of medicine through groundbreaking research and education.