The Association of American Medical Colleges recently honored UCLA’s Dr. Owen Witte with the Award for Distinguished Research in Biomedical Sciences. The award, established in 1974, honors outstanding biomedical research related to health and disease that has contributed to the substance of medicine.

“For more than three decades, the scientific discoveries of Dr. Witte have led to lifesaving breakthroughs for once-fatal diseases," according to a statement by the association, which presented the award on Nov. 13. "Dr. Witte has identified genes and enzymes that cause rare genetic cancers and immune diseases, and these discoveries have led to the development of pharmaceuticals that have revolutionized treatment for patients and illustrate the promise of the field of precision medicine.”

Witte holds the President’s Chair in Developmental Immunology, Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics and is a distinguished professor in microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics. His research focuses on pinpointing the biological causes of prostate cancer.

He is also the founding director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA, where he fosters a collaborative and multidisciplinary regenerative medicine program comprising more than 200 clinicians, scientists and engineers working to heal patients with cancer, genetic diseases and many other conditions.

Witte is an appointed member of the U.S. President’s Cancer Panel and a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences. He is also a University Professor for the University of California system, one of just 40 faculty members to receive this title, which is reserved for scholars of the highest international distinction.