Dr. Marja Hurley Honored for Outstanding Research

Dr. Marja Hurley was awarded the prestigious 2016 Lawrence G. Raisz Award by the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) for her career's outstanding research achievements.

Dr. Marja Hurley in her laboratory at UConn Health. (Tina Encarnacion/UConn Health Photo)

Dr. Marja Hurley in her laboratory at UConn Health. (Tina Encarnacion/UConn Health Photo)

UConn School of Medicine’s Dr. Marja Hurley has been honored by the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) with its prestigious 2016 Lawrence G. Raisz Award.

The award recognizes Hurley, a professor of medicine and orthopaedic surgery at UConn Health, as a distinguished ASBMR member with outstanding achievements in preclinical and translational research.

“I am honored to receive one of the major and most prestigious awards of ASBMR,” said Hurley who accepted the honor on Sept. 16 at the society’s annual meeting in Atlanta. “It is especially meaningful to me to accept this award named after UConn’s late Dr. Lawrence G. Raisz who was a strong role model with such a lasting legacy in the field for his research excellence.”

Raisz, a founding member of ASBMR, was a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Medicine Emeritus at UConn Health. He was a leader for fifty years in the field of bone and and metabolic bone disease. His research focused on the mechanisms of bone formation, resorption and the pathogenesis of osteoporosis.  He was the ASBMR’s second president and the first editor-in-chief of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

As a widely-published physician-scientist, Hurley is internationally recognized for her research into the role fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF2) plays in bone and phosphate homeostasis. She has added significant research knowledge to the important role FGF2 plays in maintaining bone mass. Her research has shown how reduced expression of FGF2 in bone during the aging process contributes to osteoporosis and how FGF2 therapy can enhance bone cells in both humans and mice.  She has published 170 peer reviewed publications including 69 manuscripts, 10 invited reviews and book chapters and 91 scientific abstracts. Her research has been NIH-funded since 1989.

“We are so proud of Dr. Hurley and all her research and clinical career accomplishments advancing medicine, research and inspiring the next generation of doctors and scientists here at UConn and beyond,” said Dr. Bruce T. Liang, dean of UConn School of Medicine.

Hurley has a strong commitment to the mentoring and training of the next generation of biomedical scientists. She is founding director of the Aetna Health Professions Partnership Initiative and associate dean of the Department of Health Career Opportunity Programs at UConn Health. In addition, she is a member of the UConn Graduate School faculty in Skeletal Biology and Regeneration (SBR) and the Cell Biology areas of concentration in the Biomedical Sciences.

Hurley’s past accolades include the Connecticut Technology Council Women of Innovation and Leadership Award, The UConn Health Board of Directors Faculty Recognition Award, UConn’s Carole and Ray Neag Medal of Honor, named one of the outstanding women in 100 years at UConn, and a member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering.

Hurley has been a member of the UConn faculty since 1986 after completing both her residency training in internal medicine and fellowship training in endocrinology. In addition, she completed both her undergraduate degree and medical degree at UConn.