APS and SPR honor Dr. Stella Kourembanas with the 2020 Mary Ellen Avery Award

Stella Kourembanas, MD – Clement A. Smith Professor of Pediatrics & Chief, Division of Newborn Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital – Chair, Harvard Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Training Program, Harvard Medical School

HOUSTON, Dec. 10, 2019 – The American Pediatric Society (APS) and the Society for Pediatric Research (SPR) are pleased to announce Stella Kourembanas, MD, as the recipient of the 2020 Mary Ellen Avery Award, which honors a pediatric investigator who has made important contributions to neonatal health through basic or translational research.

Dr. Kourembanas is the Clement A. Smith Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Chief of the Division of Newborn Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. As a physician scientist, she is actively engaged in clinical care, medical education and basic/translational research on perinatal lung biology and regenerative medicine. Her research spans molecular, cellular and animal studies on experimental models of lung inflammation, hypoxic signaling and developmental lung injury, and the translation of this work to the treatment of newborn lung disease. Her work on mesenchymal stromal cells and their secreted extracellular vesicles/exosomes as vectors of intercellular signaling that can be harnessed as novel, cell-free therapeutic agents for the treatment of lung diseases has been translated to the first in human clinical trial for the treatment of bronchopulmonary dysplasia.

In 2013, the APS and SPR established and endowed the Mary Ellen Avery Award. This award honors Dr. Avery’s outstanding lifetime achievements and seminal contributions to neonatal health through her discovery of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), her research and academic leadership, and her outstanding service to pediatrics and neonatology.

“The American Pediatric Society and the Society for Pediatric Research are honored to recognize Dr. Kourembanas with the 2020 Mary Ellen Avery Award for her substantial contributions to neonatal health research,” said APS President Robin Steinhorn, MD. “In addition to her exceptional work as a pediatric researcher, Dr. Kourembanas is a respected mentor who is committed to training physician scientists as future leaders in newborn medicine.”

“Dr. Kourembanas’ research in perinatal lung biology and regenerative medicine has made a significant impact on the pediatric community and continued Dr. Avery’s lasting legacy,” said SPR President Joel N. Hirschhorn, MD, PhD. “We are truly pleased to honor Dr. Kourembanas for her lifetime of outstanding work and commitment as a pediatric investigator.”

Dr. Kourembanas has served as principal investigator on several previous and current foundation and National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded grants, including a SCOR program on developmental lung injury and repair. She has led several collaborative basic and translational studies, as well as a clinical trial of inhaled nitric oxide for neonates with respiratory failure that have contributed new knowledge to this field. She has lectured worldwide and served as standing member and chair of NIH study sections as well as chair of review panels for multiple foundations supporting lung and pediatric research. She has mentored dozens of trainees who have become leaders in the field of lung biology and her strong commitment to medical education and teaching has earned her several mentoring awards by the residents and fellows.

Dr. Kourembanas received a Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry from Barnard College and a medical degree from New York University School of Medicine, followed by residency training in Pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital and fellowship in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at the Joint Program in Neonatology, Harvard Medical School, a program founded by Dr. Avery.

For more information about Dr. Kourembanas and the Mary Ellen Avery Award, please visit the APS website.


About the American Pediatric Society

The American Pediatric Society (APS) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1888 as the first pediatric society in North America. The mission of the APS is to engage distinguished pediatric leaders to shape the future of academic pediatrics. The 1,800 plus members of APS are recognized leaders of extraordinary achievement who work together to shape the future of academic pediatrics. For more information, please visit aps1888.org, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Society for Pediatric Research

The Society for Pediatric Research (SPR) encourages and supports pediatric research endeavors by creating a network of multidisciplinary researchers to improve child health. Collaboration among SPR members creates meaningful progress for the future of children’s health. For more information, please visit www.societyforpediatricresearch.org, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Media Contacts:
Jaimee Chumley
Association Director
American Pediatric Society
(832) 476-9551

Jana Wells
Senior Association Director
Society for Pediatric Research
(832) 404-2451