2021 Harrington Prize Co-Recipient
John J. O’Shea graduated Phi Beta Kappa from St. Lawrence University and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He carried out a residency in Internal Medicine at the SUNY-Upstate Medical University and subspecialty training and postdoctoral research at the NIH. He is currently the Director of the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
Dr. O’Shea has made fundamental discoveries related to the basic mechanisms underlying cytokine signal transduction. He and his colleagues first closed the human tyrosince kinase JAK3 and discovered its role in signaling by interleukin-2. These insights led to the discovery of JAK3 mutations as a cause of severe combined immunodeficiency. This led Dr. O’Shea and his colleagues to propose that targeting JAKs would represent a new class immunomodulatory drugs and now nine JAK inhibitors have been approved for the treatment of multiple forms of arthritis, atopic dermatitis and inflammatory bowl disease. Dr. O’Shea has made many important insights into the role of STAT family transcription factors and more recently, he has made seminal discoveries related to how STATs impact the epigenome.
Dr. O’Shea has received numerous awards, including: the NIH Director’s Award four times, USPHS Physician Research of the Year Award, Irish Immunology Public Lecture Award, Arthritis Foundation’s Howley Prize, Drake Prize, Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine, the Millstein Prize and the AAI-Steinman Award for Human Immunology. Dr. O’Shea is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, American Association of Physicians and the National Academy of Medicine and was named a Master of the American College of Rheumatology. He has published more than 330 peer-reviewed articles and is on the editorial boards of Immunity and the Journal of Experimental Medicine.