Martin Sanders Receives Distinguished Alumni Award
Feb. 27, 2014
The College of Arts and Science presented Martin E. Sanders, B.A. ’75, with an Arts and Science Distinguished Alumni Award.
The award recognizes alumni whose professional contributions have enhanced their respective disciplines and the quality of life for humankind, and in do so have reflected well on the College of Arts and Science.
Sanders spent his childhood years in Lebanon, Mo. He graduated as valedictorian of Lebanon Public High School and as a recipient of the National Merit Scholarship. He received the bachelor’s degree in microbiology from MU in 1975 and the MD degree from the University of Chicago in 1979. He completed an internship and a residency in internal medicine at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Washington University Medical Center, and fellowships in clinical and basic immunology research and clinical rheumatology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Cancer Institute, and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He is board certified in internal medicine and holds dual sub-specialty board certifications in allergy and clinical immunology and in rheumatology.
Following a successful career as an executive of several biopharmaceutical companies, Sanders currently serves as executive chairman and CEO of IO Therapeutics, a privately held company developing novel treatments for Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and various cancers. He also is co-founder and executive chairman of Viator Technologies, a cancer diagnostic company developing and commercializing products based on technologies originating at MU.
Sanders made major contributions to basic cell biology and immunology as co-discoverer of the first two described direct intercellular interactions mediated by specific pairs of cell membrane molecules. These discoveries were a major advance in understanding how cells of all types communicate and interact. He is also recognized for discovering the first described phenotypic markers and functional characteristics of human memory and naive T-lymphocyte subsets. The distinctions he described are widely used in basic and clinical immunology research in cancer, infection disease, vaccines development, and autoimmunity. His seminal work led to the development of several novel treatments for multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.
As one of the recipient of this year’s award, Sanders received a plaque and was recognized at the 33rd Annual Arts and Science Banquet.
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