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2022 ADDF-Harrington and 2023 Harrington UK Rare Disease Programs
Director, Pappajohn Biomedical Institute and the University of Iowa Cystic Fibrosis Research Center; Roy J. Carver Chair in Biomedical Research; Professor of Internal Medicine, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, and Neurosurgery, University of Iowa; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Dr. Welsh obtained an MD from, and completed an internal medicine residency at, the University of Iowa. He then trained in pulmonary medicine and research at the University of California, San Francisco and physiology at the University of Texas, Houston. He has been an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1989.
Dr. Welsh and his colleagues discovered that the protein affected in cystic fibrosis is an anion channel, elucidated its functional mechanisms, discovered ways that mutations disrupt function and showed that mutations can be rescued. This work led directly to development of medicines that target CFTR and are highly effective for 90% of cystic fibrosis patients. To understand disease pathogenesis, he and his collaborators developed cystic fibrosis pigs, the first mammal, other than mice, in which a gene was targeted to generate a disease model.
His clinical activities focus on pulmonary diseases. He has trained many physician-scientists and received the Distinguished Mentor Award, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. He co-founded Exemplar Genetics, Emmyon, Inc., Spirovant, Inc. and cystetic Medicines, Inc.
Dr. Welsh served as President of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences.
He has received many awards for his work, including the Doris F. Tulcin Cystic Fibrosis Research Award, Paul di Sant'Agnese Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award, J. Burns Amberson Award, Walter B. Cannon Award, Steven C. Beering Prize, Warren Alpert Foundation Prize, and Kober Medal.