2005 - Bevra Hahn, MD

Bevra Hahn. MD has been named the first recipient of the Evelyn V. Hess Research Award, which will be presented annually by the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) to a medical researcher whose body of work has advanced understanding of lupus, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and tissue damage to virtually any organ system in the body. 

Dr. Hahn is Professor of Medicine, Vice-Chair of the Department of Medicine, and Chief of Rheumatology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles. Dr. Hahn was recognized for her commitment to lupus research, specifically in the areas of immunosuppressive treatments. Dr. Hahn’s research on immunosuppressive treatments for lupus, along with studies from the NIH and other institutions, has formed the firm foundation for the development of current immunosuppressive regimens for lupus, which affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans, and more than five million individuals worldwide, mostly women. 

Dr. Hahn was responsible, in conjunction with her husband, for demonstrating that adding daily calcium and Vitamin D to steroid regimens slows bone loss, a strategy that has since become standard treatment practice in the United States. Her genetics work using mouse models has demonstrated that certain clones of anti-DNA antibodies obtained from lupus-prone mice can induce similar symptoms in normal animals. Recent studies completed by Dr. Hahn and her team showed that the pro-inflammatory HDL molecules are increased in people with lupus.

Her laboratory currently is supported by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Merit Award and other grant awards for studies on which Dr. Hahn is co-investigator. She has been a mentor to many young lupus research investigators and has served on numerous advisory panels for the NIH and other agencies, institutions and organizations. 

Dr. Hahn has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed research papers and over 40 book chapters or reviews. She is co-editor of an influential medical textbook, Dubois’ Lupus Erythematosus, and a co-author of an LFA guidebook for people with lupus, their families and healthcare providers.

Dr. Hahn is the past-president of the American College of Rheumatology. She has earned numerous honors and awards including the Carol Nachman Award for Innovative Research and the Heberden Medal of the British Society of Rheumatology.

Dr. Hahn has been involved with the Lupus Foundation of America since its formative years, helping to establish the first LFA chapter in Missouri in the mid 1970’s. She has treated hundreds of lupus patients over many years of practice. It has been the treatment of these patients, with the knowledge that there is still no cure for lupus, which has inspired her continued commitment to research.