Kirk P. Townsend, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital to Receive Ellen Lutch Bender Arthritis Research Award

Kirk P. Townsend, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital to Receive Ellen Lutch Bender Arthritis Research Award

Kirk Townsend, PhD of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital received first Ellen Lutch Bender Arthritis Research Award.

Research award established by Brown Rudnick LLP and the Arthritis Foundation Boston, Massachusetts, June 8, 2009 — Brown Rudnick, a premier international law firm, in partnership with the Arthritis Foundation Massachusetts Chapter, named Kirk P. Townsend, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as the recipient of the “Ellen Lutch Bender Arthritis Research Award.” This three-year, $150,000 postdoctoral fellowship will fund innovative research dedicated to the prevention, control and cure of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The award will be presented on June 22, 2009 at a celebratory reception at the Boston offices of Brown Rudnick.

Dr. Kirk P. Townsend obtained his Ph.D. in Medical Science in 2004 from the University of South Florida under the mentorship of Dr. Paul Sandberg. Dr. Townsend’s first postdoctoral fellowship was in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania. His fellowship research focused on the molecular mechanism of 12/15-Lipoxygenase mediated parenchymal amyloidosis. Recently recruited to Dr. David M. Lee’s Laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Dr. Townsend’s research now focuses on the molecular mechanisms governing the behavior of synovial tissue (fibroblast-like synoviocytes) in arthritis.

According to Dr. Townsend, “I am honored and gratified to receive this research award. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis but its pathogenesis remains incompletely understood. This generous research grant from Brown Rudnick and the Arthritis Foundation will help fund a study exploring molecular mechanisms regulating synovial fibrolast cadherin-11; the understanding of which could form the basis for novel therapeutics for treating inflammatory arthritis.”

Kevin P. Martin Jr., CPA, MST, Chapter Chair, Arthritis Foundation Massachusetts Chapter Leadership, commented, “The Arthritis Foundation is the largest nonprofit contributor to arthritis research in the world. Since our inception in 1948, we have funded more than 2,200 investigators and invested more the $400 million in peer-reviewed research. We are delighted to present this research award to the esteemed Dr. Townsend, and we are equally pleased to name this award in honor of an outstanding community leader and wonderful friend, Ellen Lutch Bender. Finally, we thank Brown Rudnick for the firm’s generous contribution, which is helping to advance the Foundation’s mission of improving lives through leadership in the prevention, control and cure of arthritis and related diseases.”

The June 22nd award celebration will honor award namesake Ellen Lutch Bender for her contributions to the Arthritis Foundation, to the awareness, prevention and cure of arthritis, and to the betterment of the health care industry. The reception will feature members of the medical research community including Michael E. Weinblatt, MD, Co-Director of Clinical Rheumatology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, David M. Lee, MD, PhD, Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as well as members of the Arthritis Foundation Massachusetts Chapter Leadership, Brown Rudnick, and friends and supporters.


About Ellen Lutch Bender

Ellen Lutch Bender is the President and CEO of Bender Strategies LLC, a health care consulting firm dedicated to helping health care organizations develop and implement strategies for mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures and by forming relationships within the health care field. She served two terms as Chairperson for the Arthritis Foundation, where she was the Board’s first woman and non-physician chairperson. She was also Cochair of the Health Care United Way of Massachusetts Bay Campaign Cabinet. In 1990, Ms. Bender joined Brown Rudnick, helping to establish Brown Rudnick’s Health Care Practice Group in 1991 and developing this team into one of the largest and most widely respected health care legal practices in the region.


Prior to Brown Rudnick, she served for six years as director of regional support services at University Hospital in Boston. Earlier, she was Associate Executive Director of the Massachusetts Federation of Nursing Homes and Director of Community Affairs at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Ms. Bender began her health care career in 1972 when she worked at the Massachusetts State House, serving on the newly formed health committee. In addition, she has held a series of policy positions on the local and state levels, serving two governors on the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women.


About The Arthritis Foundation

The Arthritis Foundation is the only national not-for-profit organization that supports the more than 100 types of arthritis and related diseases. Founded in 1948, with headquarters in Atlanta, the Arthritis Foundation has multiple service points located throughout the country. The Arthritis Foundation is the largest private, not-for-profit contributor to arthritis research in the world, funding more than $380 million in research grants since 1948.


The foundation helps people take control of arthritis by providing public health education; pursuing public policy and legislation; and conducting evidence-based programs to improve the quality of life for those living with arthritis. For more information, please visit


About Brown Rudnick LLP

Brown Rudnick is an international law firm with offices in the United States and Europe. The firm represents clients from around the world, providing business-focused solutions that address today’s ever-changing, ever-demanding competitive marketplace. With an entrepreneurial and collaborative mindset, Brown Rudnick offers a broad slate of capabilities and talents in areas that include: Government Law & Strategies, Health Law, Corporate & Securities, Intellectual Property, Finance, Energy, Bankruptcy & Corporate Restructuring, Complex Litigation and Real Estate. For more information, please visit


The Brown Rudnick Center for the Public Interest is a measure of the firm’s strong commitment to the community and serves as an umbrella entity encompassing the firm’s pro bono legal work, charitable giving, community involvement and public interest efforts.
For more information, please visit


May is National Arthritis Month. The goal is to increase awareness of arthritis. Better understanding can benefit both patients with arthritis and people who are not
afflicted with the disease.