The Northwest Association for Biomedical Research (NWABR) honored Washington State University’s ongoing contributions to countering the coronavirus pandemic during NWABR’s annual gala.

The Alvin J. Thompson Award was presented to the entire biomedical research community in the Northwest. WSU is among the recipients of this award. The award recognizes the pivotal role that Northwest researchers and institutions have played as they have focused their efforts on the coronavirus pandemic. Congresswoman Suzan DelBene accepted the award on behalf of the community.

“We are incredibly honored to be recognized for our ongoing research efforts in the fight against COVID-19. Our researchers pivoted their work to focus on issues related to the novel coronavirus. The dedication of our entire research community to continue the pursuit of knowledge even in a time of uncertainty has been outstanding. This award recognizes all of these efforts,” said Christopher Keane, vice president for research at WSU and vice chancellor for research at WSU Pullman.

As part of the program, a montage of photos and videos from Northwest researchers celebrated the work that research institutions have undertaken in response to the pandemic. Representatives of WSU in the photos included Hailey Rupp, COVID-19 project manager and chair of the COVID-19 Operations Team, Tim Baszler, executive director of the Washington Animal Disease and Diagnostics Laboratory, staff from WADDL, Shawn Ringo, response coordinator and contract tracer for Environmental Health and Safety, Jason Sampson, response coordinator and contract tracer for Environmental Health and Safety, Joel Schwartzkopf, executive director of Cougar Health Services, Levi O’Loughlin, associate director of the Office of Research Assurances and university biosafety officer, and Mike Kluzik, director of the Office of Research Assurances. The group of WSU individuals represented portions of the WSU’s COVID-19 Operations Team that impacted research success.

“Our recognition photo presented the group of people who made tough choices to ensure the health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty. But the award is truly a celebration of everyone who has played a key role in understanding COVID-19 and mitigating potentially worse outcomes. We want to thank the entire research community, especially the researchers who pivoted their work to focus on COVID-19,” said Kluzik, who serves as the WSU representative on the Board of NWABR.

Other notable research institutions recognized during the ceremony include the University of Washington, Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center, the Allen Institute, Benaroya Research Institute, Kaiser Permanente, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland State University, Multicare, Providence, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Swedish, and University of Oregon. In total, 25 research institutions were recognized on behalf of NWABR.

The virtual gala, held on Sept. 23, celebrated research, Northwest research institutions, and the researchers who are the primary hope for return to some form of normalcy. Northwest researchers have been involved in basic and epidemiological research, creating treatments, and developing and trialing vaccines.

Thirty years ago, the presidents and CEOs of the Pacific Northwest’s most respected research facilities recognized that public trust in the integrity of research was essential to the future of medical discovery in our region. NWABR was born out of that commitment and stands today as the Northwest’s leading voice for understanding biomedical research and its ethical conduct. Through education and dialogue, NWBR is dedicated to promoting the public’s trust in ethically conducted biomedical research. The association’s diverse membership spans academic, industry, non-profit research institutes, health care, and voluntary health organizations.