Peter M. Henson
|Institution||University of Colorado Denver - Anschutz Medical Campus|
|2011||Distinguished Professor, Univeristy of Colorado|
|2005||Burns Amberson Lecture, ATS Centenary Meeting|
|2002||Honary Doctor of Medicine, University of Edinburgh|
|1980||Parke Davis Award, American Association of Pathologists|
|1991||Margaret A. Regan Professor of Pulmonary inflammation, National Jewish Health|
Peter Henson was born in England and spent his high school years in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) where his interest in science and nature was kindled by outstanding teachers in Chemistry and Biology. Returning to the UK he received his Veterinary training and a microbiology degree from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. After short stints of Veterinary practice he embarked on his research career by completing a PhD in Immunology at the University of Cambridge, focusing on biological activities of the complement system. A migration to La Jolla, California and the Scripps Research Institute to pursue a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Immunopathology, led to a stay of 10 years and his first foray into the world of lung inflammation. During that time, Dr Henson’s interest in mediators of inflammation led to the discovery of a unique phospholipid mediator, PAF (platelet activating factor) as well the demonstration that release of mediators from inflammatory cells involved active and controllable secretory processes (rather than passive release of constituents following cell lysis as was then believed). A provident move to Denver in 1977 to help revitalize the research program in Pediatrics at what is now National Jewish Health, included his joining the Pulmonary & Critical Care Division at the University of Colorado. From 1985 to 1987 he was Co-director of that Division and from 1982-1997, Vice President for Academic Affairs at National Jewish with responsibilities initially for both clinical and research activities at the institution. Recognizing that his research was suffering from this excursion into administration, Dr Henson happily relinquished these responsibilities in 1997 to focus full time on research. In the early 1980’s, his laboratory’s investigation of how pulmonary inflammation resolves led to the demonstration that inflammatory cells become apoptotic, expose phosphatidylserine on their surface and are cleared locally by phagocytic cells. The mechanisms and implications of this unique form of self recognition, its importance in innate immunity, development, tissue remodeling and homeostasis as well as in many forms of pulmonary disease, have been a research focus ever since. An honorary Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Edinburgh in 2002 gratifyingly justified his work in human medicine for the previous 25 years. Throughout his career he has been supported by his colleague and wife, Jan, who also provides ultrastructural and histologic validation of the cellular and tissue systems his laboratory investigates.
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