The Education Committee established the Timely Topics Lecture in 1982 at the suggestion of Dr. Nathan Kaufman. It was initially conceived as a lecture by a prominent individual in the field of pathology to address a “timely topic” but has evolved into a sophisticated presentation, generally by a clinician or researcher, whose integrated relationship with pathology moves the discipline forward with contemporary ideas, innovative methods, and futuristic technology. This lecture is regarded as an honor within the USCAP sphere.

The lecturer should be well recognized and respected within the medical community, in general, and by the pathology community; he/she should be capable of giving a lucid and erudite lecture relating to topics of contemporary interest. The lecture is presented during the Annual Meeting of the Academy.

In 1999, the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology chose to honor Dr. Kaufman by renaming this lecture the Nathan Kaufman Timely Topics Lecture. This action was taken in recognition of his distinguished service and invaluable contributions to the Academy, including: prolonged service as first full-time Secretary-Treasurer of USCAP; founding Assistant Editor of Laboratory Investigation and founding Editor of Modern Pathology; institution of the Diagnostic Pathology Course; facilitation of separate incorporation of USCAP and establishment of its Bylaws; formulation of guidelines and procedures for Companion Societies meetings; supervision of lot purchase and construction of a permanent office building for the Academy; establishment of policies and procedures for operations, objectives for educational offerings and terms of reference for the various committees.

Samuel H. Sternberg, PhD

2020 Nathan Kaufman Timely Topics Lecture

Dr. Sternberg runs a research laboratory at Columbia University, where he is an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. He is a protein-RNA biochemist and internationally recognized expert on CRISPR technology.

Sam received his BA in Biochemistry from Columbia University in 2007, graduating summa cum laude, and his PhD in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 2014. He earned graduate student fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense, and he was awarded the Scaringe Award from the RNA Society and the Harold Weintraub Graduate Student Award from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Sam’s doctoral research in the laboratory of Dr. Jennifer Doudna focused on the biology of CRISPR-Cas systems and the development of these systems for genome engineering. His work has been published in the journals Nature, Science, and Cell, and been covered in The New York Times, Science News, The Scientist, and various other news outlets.

His laboratory is continuing research into the functions and applications of CRISPR–Cas, and more broadly, strives to expand our understanding of the ways in which noncoding RNAs work together with effector proteins to manipulate genetic information and maintain genomic integrity.

In addition to publishing his research in leading journals and speaking internationally, Sam remains actively involved in public outreach and ongoing discussions on the ethical issues surrounding genome editing. Together with Jennifer Doudna, Sam co-authored a popular science trade book about the discovery, development, and applications of CRISPR gene editing technology, which was published in June 2017. Titled A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution, their book received enthusiastic reviews from The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian, among other outlets. The book was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and The New York Review of Books called it “required reading for every concerned citizen.”

Previous Honorees

2019 Jeroen A.W.M. van der Laak
2018 H. Gilbert Welch
2017 Daniel J. Brat
2016 Eric F. Glassy
2015 Otis W. Brawley
2014 Arul Chinniyan
2013 Christopher Crum
2012 Bogdan Czerniak
2011 Guillermo J. Teamey
2010 Anthony Atala
2009 Todd Golub
2008 Frank McKeon
2007 Steven L. Kunkel
2006 Tyler Jacks
2005 Phillip Sharp
2004 David H. Walker
2003 Irving L. Weissman
2002 Lance Liotta
2001 James Madera
2000 Peter M. Howley
1999 Anthony S. Fauci
1998 David Korn
1997 Raymond White
1996 Anthony Epstein
1995 Eric Stanbridge
1994 Francis Collins
1993 Judah Folkman
1992 French Anderson
1991 Stanley Cohen
1990 Philip Leder
1989 Jay Levy
1988 Cecilia Fenoglio-Preiser
1987 Ronald Weinstein
1986 James Curran
1985 Robert Leader
1984 Arthur Upton &
Robert Squire
1983 Edwin Ewing &
Thomas Spira