Outstanding Achievement Award Recipient
Biographies are as-of time of award presentation.
Medical School, February 3, 2017
Robert John Desnick, a Twin Cities native, earned his bachelor’s degree in microbiology (1965) and a PhD in genetics and cell biology from the College of Biological Sciences (1970), and his MD from the Medical School (1971) at the University of Minnesota (U of M). Desnick completed his residency in pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Hospitals and then joined the U of M faculty, where he rose to the rank of associate professor of cell biology and genetics, and pediatrics. He is currently the dean for genetics and genomic medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine, and he is also professor and chairman emeritus of genetics and genomic sciences and holds professorships in pediatrics, oncological sciences, and obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science, at the Genomics Institute at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Desnick is an internationally renowned molecular and biochemical geneticist whose basic, translational, and clinical research work has led to effective treatments for and preventions of rare genetic diseases. His research efforts have focused on the development of therapies for Fabry disease, Niemann-Pick B disease, and the Acute Porphyrias. He has published over 740 research papers and chapters, including nine books, and he has secured more than 12 patents. Desnick is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the American Association of Physicians, an elected fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. In addition, he has served as the director of the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics, and is the co-founder and past president of the Association of Professors of Human and Medical Genetics. Desnick is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions. Most recently, he was awarded the 2017 Rare Impact Award from the National Organization for Rare Disorders. He is also the recipient of alumni achievement awards from both the University of Minnesota Medical School and the College of Biological Sciences.