ASU's Poste receives Scrip Lifetime Achievement Award

December 16, 2009

Arizona State University and Caris Diagnostics (Caris Dx) are pleased to announce that George Poste has been named the 2009 recipient of the prestigious Scrip Lifetime Achievement Award.

Poste, who is chief scientist for ASU’s Complex Adaptive Systems Initiative and Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Adviser of Caris Dx, accepted the honor during the 5th Annual Scrip Awards ceremony in London on Nov. 18. Download Full Image

The internationally renowned Scrip Awards acknowledge outstanding achievements in the pharmaceutical, biotech and allied industries. An esteemed panel of judges comprised of independent industry experts from around the world selected Poste for his nearly four decades of research accomplishments spanning academia, industry and government.

“I am deeply honored to have received such a distinguished award," said Poste. "A career in science offers the opportunity to learn something new every day, so it is humbling to be recognized for something that has provided me with so much personal reward.”

He added that he continues to experience these rewards in his roles within Caris Dx and ASU. Caris Dx is developing new molecular diagnostic tests for the improved detection and treatment selection of cancer and is forging new vistas in personalized healthcare, while ASU is setting new standard for biologically inspired design and understanding of complex adaptive systems.

From 2003 to 2008, Poste directed the Biodesign Institute at ASU, which fuses multiple scientific research disciplines to solve urgent problems affecting human health and the environment. Poste established the strategic direction of the institute and oversaw design of its award-winning facilities, generating cumulative research funding of $225 million in five years and recruiting more than 60 faculty members, including three members of the National Academies of Science and Engineering. Most recently, Poste launched ASU’s Complex Adaptive Systems Initiative to leverage key university research strengths against complex global challenges in healthcare, environmental sustainability and national security. He is also a Regents’ Professor and the Del E. Webb Chair in Health Innovation at ASU.

In 2006, Poste joined the board of directors at Caris Dx as Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Adviser. Caris Dx is a leading provider of integrated anatomic pathology and oncology testing services, including molecular profiling and hematopathology.

In addition to honoring Poste’s work with Caris Dx and ASU, the award committee cited Poste’s previous accomplishments. Poste’s studies on clonal diversity in tumors in the 1970s and 1980s provided new, important conceptual insights into tumor cell heterogeneity. In 1981, Poste accepted the research director role at SmithKline and French (later SmithKline Beecham and GlaxoSmithKline), beginning a 19-year career culminating in service as the president of R&D, chief science and technology officer, and board member. During his tenure at SmithKline Beecham, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, Poste oversaw the successful registration of 31 drug, vaccine and diagnostic products and the launch of a global program for eradication of lymphatic filariasis. He retired from SmithKline Beecham in 2000.

Poste has published over 350 research papers and edited 14 books on pharmaceutical technologies and oncology. He has received honorary degrees in science, law and medicine for his research contributions and was honored in 1999 by HM Queen Elizabeth II as a Commander of the British Empire for his contributions to international security. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Royal College of Pathologists and the UK Academy of Medicine, a Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University and a member of the Council for Foreign Relations. He is a member of the Defense Science Board and Health Board of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. Institute of Medicine Board on Global Health. He chaired the DoD Task Force on Bioterrorism and the newly launched DoD Task Force on Synthetic Biology.

In addition to his roles at Caris Dx and Arizona State University, he serves on boards for Monsanto, Exelixis and Synthetic Genomics, and as an adviser to Burrill & Co.

Kimberly Ovitt, kimberly.ovitt">">
(480) 727-8688
Biodesign Institute

Joe Caspermeyer

Managing editor, Biodesign Institute


Student earns first ASU global health degree

December 16, 2009

What began as a desire to change the world for the better has resulted in a pioneering accomplishment by 21-year-old Mackenzie Cotlow. On Dec. 18, Cotlow will receive the first bachelor’s degree in global health awarded by Arizona State University.

Launched in 2008 by the School of Human Evolution and Social Change in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the groundbreaking global health program integrates the social and life sciences as it investigates major health challenges facing the world. Unlike many health programs, it provides students with a broad skill base and an understanding of the wide-ranging dynamics – including cultural, historical, biological and socioeconomic complexities – that create these global challenges. Download Full Image

The transdisciplinarity of the program was a draw for Cotlow, who welcomed the idea of exploring many fields within the context of health. Another lure was the idea of pursuing studies focused on effecting meaningful change for people in low-resource settings.

“I have always wanted to make a difference, but I never really knew how to go about that, or exactly what I wanted to do with my life,” Cotlow said. “I started at ASU as a biology major, but I just didn’t feel the connection I needed. Then I heard about the global health program, and it sounded interesting because I’ve always been a global thinker, so I switched majors."

After taking a couple of classes, she realized the program was perfect for her. Cotlow went on to study with a diverse group of faculty – including medical anthropologist Alexandra Brewis, bioarchaeologist Rachel Scott, cultural anthropologist Amber Wutich and environmental anthropologist Colleen O’Brien – equipping her with what she deems a valuable, layered foundation for understanding health issues from a variety of perspectives.

“The classes I took made me think and see the world in a new and beneficial way,” Cotlow said.

Cotlow completed the study abroad program required for the degree through a summer session in New Zealand and Fiji, which she said was “an incredible experience, and the best decision I ever made.” She credits the on-site experiential learning with opening her eyes to the realities of global health issues and also her own potential to impact them. The program involved hands-on opportunities to help find sustainable health and environmental solutions in indigenous communities, as well as engaging in everyday activities during a stay with a farming family and lending a hand with the needs of local villages.

Noting that her degree program has afforded her many options – such as career opportunities in teaching, research or health services in international agencies, departments of health, government agencies or NGOs, or priming her for specialized training in medicine – Cotlow is planning to forge a career path that combines her interests in disease science and social justice. First up, though, is the decision about whether to apply for graduate school at ASU – the public health program offered by the W. P. Carey School of Business – or working abroad for a year before resuming her studies.

Whatever she chooses, Cotlow seems destined to succeed. Her adviser, Baté Agbor-Baiyee, pegged her as an “up-and-coming star” based on her involvement and dedication, along with her outstanding curricular and extracurricular endeavors. Brewis agreed, saying “Mackenzie is an energetic and optimistic young scholar, who is thoughtful, has shown an incredible willingness to try new things and works very well with others. These are some of the qualities that will help her and other program graduates contribute to a dynamic and effective global health workforce."

In Fall 2011, the School of Human Evolution and Social Change will introduce a master’s in global health program, which will accept applicants in Fall 2010. The school is also seeking final approvals for a doctorate in global health.

Rebecca Howe

Communications Specialist, School of Human Evolution and Social Change