Pitt Professors Awarded for Groundbreaking Research Discoveries

Pitt Panther

Pitt School of Medicine professors Yuan Chang and Patrick S. Moore will receive the 2017 Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize, one of medicine’s most prestigious prizes. The award is given annually to medical researchers who have made significant contributions in the fields of immunology, cancer research, microbiology, and chemotherapy.

The duo’s lab, currently located within the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, is credited with discovering two of the seven known human viruses that directly cause cancer. Chang and Moore discovered the Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpes virus, or human herpesvirus 8 (KSHV/HHV8) in 1994. The virus causes Kaposi's sarcoma, the most common AIDS-related malignancy and one of the most frequently occurring cancers in Africa. Prior to this discovery, medical researchers had worked for nearly 15 years to find an infectious agent associated with Kaposi's sarcoma. The pair also identified Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV)—the cause of Merkel cell carcinoma, one of the world's most clinically aggressive skin cancers—in 2008.

The two have been widely recognized for their work, which has garnered some of the highest national and international honors in medicine, infectious disease and cancer.