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April 12, 2006

Zirkin Receives Andrology Distinguished Service Award

Barry Zirkin, PhD, professor in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Society of Andrology (ASA). For the last 35 years, Zirkin has focused on the study of andrology, a branch of science concerned with the male reproductive system that encompasses basic studies of how male gametes form and function through male contraception, infertility and sexual dysfunction.

Zirkin, who served as ASA president from 2001-2002, has a long-standing interest in understanding how Leydig cells, the testosterone-producing cells of the mammalian testis, age. Current studies are designed to characterize the Leydig cell deficits that result in the reduced production of testosterone that occurs with aging and to understand the mechanisms by which this occurs as well as its consequences. A second research focus is on the endocrine and molecular regulation of mammalian sperm formation. The studies are being conducted both in man and in an animal model (rat), and are designed to understand the role of testosterone in human male infertility and in male hormonal contraception. A third focus is on the effects of fetal exposure to environmental toxicants, particularly phthalates, on male reproductive tract structure and function.

Terry Brown, PhD, also a professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of BMB and president-elect of the ASA, was among those who nominated Zirkin for this honor. He noted that Zirkin’s “inspiration has led many others in the Society to achieve success for the overall benefit of the Society.” Brown also mentioned the large number of junior scientists, students and ASA Young Andrologist Award recipients that Zirkin has mentored.

Founded in 1975, the ASA has over 775 members from all over the world whose specialty fields include endocrinology, molecular and cell biology, biochemistry, urology, gynecology/ obstetrics, animal science and reproductive technologies. It is a unique partnership of scientists and clinicians. The Society exists to promote scientific interchange and knowledge of the male reproductive system. The Distinguished Service Award is given annually to recognize an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the American Society of Andrology.

Public Affairs media contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Kenna Lowe or Tim Parsons at 410-955-6878 or