News Release - October 16, 2013

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Child Health Researcher Recognized for Distinguished Service

Rabson_Arnold_director_Child Health Institute of New Jersey

New Brunswick, NJ – For more than 40 years, the Melvyn H. Motolinsky Research Foundation has supported hematology research, funding efforts to treat and cure leukemia and other blood-related diseases. Established in 1972, the Motolinsky Foundation is a living memorial to Melvyn H. Motolinsky, a young lawyer who died at age 26, only two months after he was diagnosed with leukemia. Each year it recognizes a leader in medical service to the community and is bestowing the 2013 Distinguished Service Award upon Arnold B. Rabson, MD, director of the Child Health Institute of New Jersey and Laura Gallagher Endowed Professor of Developmental Biology, and professor of pediatrics, pharmacology, and pathology and laboratory medicine at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

“Dr. Rabson is an expert investigator whose focus on the molecular basis of T-cell leukemias and lymphomas is a model of the research the Motolinsky Foundation regards as part of its mission to support,” said Jack Borrus, Trustee.  “As the leader of New Jersey’s primary facility that is dedicated solely to the research of childhood diseases, Dr. Rabson is a champion in the effort to heal children with devastating illnesses and is truly deserving of the 2013 Distinguished Service Award.”

Rabson has led the Child Health Institute of New Jersey at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School since 2007, serving first as interim director and then appointed as the institute’s permanent director in 2010. He has developed a vibrant research institute, recruiting more than 60 scientists in 11 laboratories, working in the areas of inflammation and immunity, autism and neurodevelopment, pediatric cancers and stem cell diseases, and metabolism and childhood obesity.  During the last few years, Rabson has focused his research program in the areas of the transcriptional regulation of human cancers, and on stem cells and development. 

Joining Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in 1990, as a faculty member at the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine (CABM), Rabson studied the molecular biology of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), continuing work he established as an investigator at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. While at the CABM, he expanded his focus to examine the molecular basis of T-cell leukemias and lymphomas, and discovered novel gene rearrangements that play an important role in these diseases. From 1997 to 2005, Rabson served as associate director for basic sciences at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and directed an institute initiative in cancer genomics and molecular oncology. He recruited multiple investigators to the Cancer Institute and helped to foster new translational research initiatives. Rabson also served as the deputy director of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey from 2005 to 2008.  In addition, he served as the interim senior associate dean for research for Robert Wood Johnson Medical School from 2008 to 2010, during which time, Rabson lead an in-depth review of laboratory research activities at the medical school, as well as the school’s response to the NIH American Recovery and Reinvestment Act initiatives.

Rabson received his medical degree from Brown University, completed a year of pathology residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University before joining the NIH. He is the author of more than 115 manuscripts and is widely recognized for his expertise in molecular virology and molecular pathology.

The Motolinsky Foundation will present Rabson with the Distinguished Service Award at its annual meeting on October 10. The foundation has generously supported several initiatives at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School aligned with its mission, including The Melvyn H. Motolinsky Laboratory for Hematology Research; the Melvyn and Abraham Motolinsky Fellowship, a permanently –endowed fellowship which supports a postdoctoral hematology researcher; and established the Melvyn, Ab and Yetta Motolinsky Chair in Hematology. Throughout its tenure, the Motolinsky Foundation has recognized central New Jersey health care leaders, including Stephen K. Jones, president and CEO of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital; Michael Nissenblatt, MD, a renowned oncologist; state Senator Joseph Vitale; Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Yetta Motolinsky, mother of Melvyn, who led the Foundation and its fund-raising efforts for nearly 35 years; Parvin Saidi, MD, the first holder of the Motolinsky Chair of Hematology, professor of medicine, and director of the Motolinsky Hematology Laboratory at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; and Norman Reitman, MD, a founder and former Chair of the Motolinsky Foundation and former Governor of the Board of Trustees of Rutgers University. 

About Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

As one of the nation's leading comprehensive medical schools, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in education, research, health care delivery, and the promotion of community health. In cooperation with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, the medical school's principal affiliate, they comprise New Jersey's premier academic medical center. In addition, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School has 34 other hospital affiliates and ambulatory care sites throughout the region.

Robert Wood Johnson Medical School encompasses 20 basic science and clinical departments, and hosts centers and institutes including The Cardiovascular Institute, the Child Health Institute of New Jersey, the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, and the Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey. The medical school maintains educational programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels for more than 1,500 students on its campuses in New Brunswick and Piscataway, and provides continuing education courses for health care professionals and community education programs. To learn more about Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, visit Find us online at and