Established in 1982, the Distinguished Graduate Award honors highly accomplished alumni for their outstanding service to society and to the profession of medicine, and for their notable accomplishments in either biomedical research, clinical practice or medical education. The awardee's achievements must have resulted in national or international recognition previously. Honorees are selected by a panel of physicians from Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, previous honorees and others. The award is presented annually during Medical Alumni Weekend and represents the highest honor bestowed upon graduates of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
2014 - William A. Eaton, C’59, M’64, GR’67
William A. Eaton, C’59, M’64, GR’67, is internationally recognized for his pioneering research on the physical chemistry of proteins. He is NIH Distinguished Investigator in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, which he joined in 1968 as a medical officer in the US Public Health Service.
Dr. Eaton also earned his doctorate in molecular biology from Penn. His investigations of the kinetics and thermodynamics of the aggregation of sickle cell hemoglobin exemplify the role of biophysical studies in providing major breakthroughs in understanding a human disease. He discovered and explained the highly unusual time course and sensitivity of sickle hemoglobin fiber formation and showed how they play a central role in both the pathophysiology and therapy of sickle cell disease.
Dr. Eaton has made significant contributions to the field of protein folding by pioneering the application of pulsed lasers to dramatically improve the time resolution in kinetic studies and by developing single molecule fluorescence methods to watch individual molecules fold and unfold. This work has led to major advances in understanding how the random conformations of the polypeptide chain self-assemble into the biologically active folded structure. All of Dr. Eaton’s experiments have been closely tied to theory, culminating in his development of a mathematical model of protein folding capable of quantitatively explaining a wide range of equilibrium and kinetic experimental results.
Dr. Eaton has also played a major leadership role at NIH. As Chief of the Laboratory of Chemical Physics since 1986, he has been responsible for building what is arguably one of the very top groups of biophysical scientists anywhere. As Scientific Director of the Intramural AIDS Targeted Anti-viral Program (IATAP) in the Office of the Director of NIH since 1986, his program has attracted many of NIH’s very best scientists to turn their efforts to research on the structural, molecular, and cell biology of HIV/AIDS. The IATAP program has contributed to the strong record of NIH scientists in meeting the AIDS crisis, and is now being used as a model for new granting programs within NIH in areas such as bioterrorism and orphan diseases research.
Dr. Eaton is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. His awards include the Neurath Award of the Protein Society, the Founders Award of the Biophysical Society, the Delbruck Prize in Biological Physics from the American Physical Society, and the John Scott Award of the City of Philadelphia.
2014 - Alan J. Wein, M’66, INT’70
Alan J. Wein, M’66, INT’70, has dedicated his life to the field of urology and his career to Penn Medicine. In 2012, Dr. Wein was a recipient of The Edward L. Keyes Medal, presented by the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons for “outstanding contributions in the advancement of urology.” The Keyes Medal is recognized as the greatest individual citation in urology and has been awarded rarely since its inception in 1926.
At Penn, Dr. Wein has held positions along the entire professional spectrum as student, to researcher, to clinician, and now as Professor and Chief of the Division of Urology at the University of Pennsylvania, and Chief of Urology and Director of the Residency Program in Urology for Penn Medicine.
Through Dr. Wein’s leadership, the Division is now considered among the nation’s leading centers for excellence in urology and urologic surgery. Under his direction, the Residency Program in Urology ranks among the top 5 in the country. In 2007, Dr. Wein was named the Founders Professor in Urology, which was created in recognition of his leadership and accomplishments.
Among his many honors, Dr. Wein is a recipient of the Urodynamics Society Lifetime Achievement Award, both the Distinguished Service and the Distinguished Contribution Awards of the American Urological Association, and the Ferdinand C. Valentine Award of the New York Academy of Medicine.
Dr. Wein holds or has held editorial board or associate editor positions on 15 respected journals, authored or coauthored over 925 scientific publications or chapters and over 785 editorials, and written, edited, or coedited over 30 books on urologic topics. He is editor-in-chief of the gold standard textbook in urology, Campbell-Walsh Urology.
His laboratory is well recognized for numerous contributions to the physiology and pharmacology of the lower urinary tract, and Dr. Wein is widely acknowledged for his simplified and now commonly used approach for classification, evaluation, and management of lower urinary tract dysfunction, including incontinence, the effects of neuromuscular disease, and obstruction. He is also recognized for his primary role in developing the concept and terminology for the overactive bladder symptom syndrome and its diagnosis and noninvasive therapy. A founding member of the Society of Urologic Oncology, he directs the Urologic Cancer Program at Penn.
After graduating from Princeton University, Dr. Wein received his MD and completed training in surgery and urology at Penn, including a fellowship at the Harrison Department of Surgical Research. He was awarded an honorary PhD from the University of Patras, Greece, in 2005. He was conferred the status of Honorary Professor of the Federal State Institute of Urology by the Russian Ministry of Healthcare and Social Development in 2010.