John C. Cambier, 72MS, 75PhD, is a star in the field of immunology—renowned as one of the world's leading scientists for decoding the mystery of how the human body launches its defense against disease.
Widely respected as a researcher, educator, administrator, and mentor, Cambier is currently chair of the Integrated Department of Immunology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and the National Jewish Medical and Research Center. He is also the Ida and Cecil Green Endowed Distinguished Professor of Cell Biology.
Previously, he served for five years served as director of immunology of Cadus Pharmaceutical Corporation and as a faculty member or visiting fellow at institutions including Duke University Medical Center, the Basel Institute for Immunology in Basel, Switzerland, the Curie Institute in Paris, France, and the Burnet Institute in Melbourne, Australia.
While he can claim many seminal contributions to the field of immunology, Cambier is most widely recognized as an international leader of research into a vital subset of immune cells called "B lymphocytes" that produce the antibodies so critical to protecting us from illness. Virtually all current vaccines act by stimulating B cells to produce antibodies.
Cambier specifically studies the signaling mechanics that induce these cells to produce germ-fighting antibodies. More than any other laboratory in the world, his has increased the biochemical understanding of the complexity of triggers and controllers that drive our humoral immune response.
In recognition of his professional stature, Cambier is a frequent guest at prestigious scientific meetings and recipient of numerous awards. In 2009, members of the American Association of Immunologists honored him with their highest level of peer recognition by inviting him to give a Distinguished Investigator Lecture during their annual meeting in Seattle. Last fall, he became one of only 56 current and former faculty members of the University of Colorado system to be awarded the title "Distinguished Professor of the University of Colorado."
Cambier also received an Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award from the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in 2002, and, in 1999, a UI Carver College of Medicine Distinguished Alumni Award for Achievement.
In addition to receiving continuous research funding—including numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and the American Cancer Society—Cambier has co-authored more than 230 peer-reviewed articles appearing in many high-profile scientific journals, as well as more than 40 reviews and book chapters. These efforts no doubt contributed to his recognition in 2005 as the Institute for Scientific Information's Most Highly Cited award.
A holder of five patents, Cambier has developed cutting-edge technologies to test his theories and hypotheses—advancements that have propelled his field forward into new, uncharted directions. Further extending the depth and breadth of his research, Cambier has directly supervised 12 doctoral candidates and mentored some 50 postdoctoral fellows, many of whom have advanced toward faculty positions of their own in major academic centers and leadership positions in industry and private practice.
With this Distinguished Alumni Award, the University of Iowa is proud to recognize John C. Cambier's outstanding contributions to life-enhancing science.
Cambier is an annual member of the UI Alumni Association.