Spain, 2014: Sten Orrenius

The International Cell Death Society is pleased to present Professor Sten Orrenius with the 2013 Pioneer Award in Cell Death for his visionary leadership and accomplishments in the field of cell stress and apoptosis.

Dr. Orrenius contributions to toxicology and cell death span over five decades. He received both scientific and medical training at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. His early research focused on drug-induced toxicology, establishing important biochemical links between endoplasmic reticulum directed cytochrome P450 metabolism and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that depleted cellular thiols. His pioneering work on drug-induced toxicant stress also led to the realization that cytoplasmic stresses, most notably ROS and Ca2+ dysregulation, impacted mitochondria biology associated with a collapse of mitochondrial permeability and membrane potential. These discoveries brought him into the mainstream of apoptosis, where his group described in elegant details the relationships between glucocorticoid induced thymocyte apoptosis and calcium, and where he was also the first to propose activation of a calcium activated nuclear endonuclease. His curiosity about the role of the mitochondria in apoptosis has led to numerous advances in the field, particularly the complex nature of inter-organelle crosstalk in apoptosis, and its interplay between ROS, Ca2+, cytochrome C, and caspase activation.

For his work, Dr. Orrenius been presented many awards including the ECDO Career Award for Excellence in Cell Death Research in 2003, and the Distinguished Lifetime Toxicology Scholar Award by the Society of Toxicology in 2006. He is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and a Foreign Associate Member of the National Academy of Sciences in the US.   For more than 30 years (1971 to 2002), he was a member of the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute where he served on the Nobel committee. Dr. Orrenius has contributed over 500 publications in a broad arena of biology. The society is honored to present Professor Orrenius with the first CDS Pioneer Award for work on apoptosis.