David E. Bruns, MD

In July 2023, we changed our name from AACC (short for the American Association for Clinical Chemistry) to the Association for Diagnostics & Laboratory Medicine (ADLM). The following page was written prior to this rebranding and contains mentions of the association’s old name. It may contain other out-of-date information as well.

2013 Award for Outstanding Contributions in Education

Dr. Bruns is professor of pathology, director of clinical chemistry, and associate director of molecular diagnostics at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He was a founding co-director of the accredited postdoctoral training program in clinical chemistry and laboratory medicine at UVA. He fulfilled many other teaching duties there, including serving as director of clinical chemistry training for residents in pathology and co-directing a weekly teaching conference in clinical chemistry. His educational efforts with the the Association for Diagnostics & Laboratory Medicine (formerly AACC) include chairing the workshops committee for a National Meeting Organizing Committee and serving on the program and planning committees for several Arnold O. Beckman conferences. He is an editor of several books in the field, including the 2005 and 2012 editions of Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics and the current and in-press editions of Tietz Fundamentals of Clinical Chemistry. He was the editor of Clinical Chemistry from 1990–2007 and is an author of 170 peer-reviewed articles. He has given more than 130 invited talks in the U.S. and abroad. Dr. Bruns has served in leadership positions in national and international organizations, including on the board of directors of AACC, president of the Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists (ACLPS), chair of the ethics task force of the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry, and president of the Association of Clinical Scientists. He has received a number of awards including the 1987 ADLM award for contributions to research and the 1998 AACC award for contributions to clinical chemistry, the 2007 Gerald T. Evans Award of ACLPS, and the 2007 Distinguished Scientist Award of the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry.

2007 The Distinguished Scientist Award

David E. Bruns, MD, FACB was honored with AACC’s 2007 Distinguished Scientist Award.

1998 Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry

David E. Bruns, MD, will receive the 47th annual award, sponsored by Bayer Diagnostics. Dr. Bruns received a BS in Chemical Engineering and an AB from Washington University, and his MD from St. Louis University. In the period between his undergraduate and medical degrees, Dr. Bruns worked at Sigma Chemical Company, where he developed "kits" and control materials for clinical analyses of glucose, urea, and other commonly measured analytes. He undertook residency and fellowship training in laboratory medicine, experimental pathology, and clinical chemistry at Washington University under the direction of clinical chemists Leonard Jarett, Jack Ladenson, Jay M. McDonald, Gerald Kessler, Carl H. Smith, David Dietzler, John C. Mauck, and James E. Davis.

Dr. Bruns joined the faculty of the University of Virginia in 1977 along with AACC members John Savory and Brian Renoe. He has remained at Virginia, where he is currently Professor of Pathology.

Dr. Bruns' early papers at Washington University on calcium metabolism and clinical enzymology set the key directions for his career. His studies of calcium with Drs. McDonald and Jarett explored the subcellular metabolism of calcium in rat adipocytes, with additional papers describing techniques for the work. His studies with Drs. Ladenson, Davis, Mauck, and others identified, explained, and circumvented an analytical problem in the measurement of creatine kinase activity; other papers addressed the clinical chemistry of amylase and the finding of amylase in a serous ovarian tumor.

At the University of Virginia, Dr. Bruns collaborated with his wife, M. Elizabeth Bruns, in studies of calcium-regulating hormones in reproduction. These studies, funded by NIH for nearly 20 years, have focused on the vitamin D-dependent calcium-binding protein (calbindin) in rodents and, more recently, on parathyroid hormone-related protein and its receptor in the human uteroplacental unit.

Dr. Bruns' studies of amylase in human ovarian tumors led to the purification of the enzyme in 1984 with Jack Zakowski (then a postdoctoral fellow). Dr. Bruns described the first monoclonal antibody that distinguished pancreatic and salivary human amylases, and in collaboration with postdoctoral fellow Ted Mifflin, he used the antibody to specifically measure pancreatic amylase in serum. This was among the first clinical assays that used a monoclonal antibody in the measurement of an enzyme.

Dr. Bruns and AACC member David Herold (then a resident) were the first to describe poisoning by polyethylene glycol (PEG). This unique and fatal syndrome was reproduced in rabbits, which, like humans, metabolized PEGs to the predicted complex metabolites. In vitro studies characterized the enzymatic metabolism of PEG. These studies led to Food and Drug Administration action on the use of PEG-containing burn creams.

Dr. Bruns has served the AACC in several capacities, including as Chairs of the Workshops Committee for the 1984 Meeting, the Laboratory Utilization Committee, and the Awards Committee. He served on the Committees for the A.O. Beckman Conferences of 1986, 1989, and 1990, the Endo/LIP Committee, and the Commission on Publications (1990–1998). He has been dedicated to the ADLM Journal, Clinical Chemistry, serving on its Editorial Board (1983–1989), on the Editorial Board's Executive Committee (1983–1989), and as the Editor of the Journal since 1990. During his editorship, the Journal's impact factor has more than doubled; the Journal is now cited >14 000 times per year. In a change that both reflected and promoted changes in the field, he has helped expand the journal's subject areas to include molecular biology and other new and nontraditional areas of clinical chemistry.

Dr. Bruns has received the AACC Award for Research in a Selected Area and the Clinical Scientist of the Year Award from the Association of Clinical Scientists. He was president of the latter society and has served on the Executive Council of the Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists. He has been a keynote speaker at national and international meetings and has served as Visiting Professor at several universities.

1987 Outstanding Contributions in a Selected Area of Research

David E. Bruns will receive the 15th AACC Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry in a Selected Area of Research. This award is sponsored by Roche Diagnostic Systems.

Dr. Bruns was born in St. Louis, MO. He received his B.S. in chemical engineering (1963), and the A.B. (1965), from Washington University, St. Louis. He developed a variety of clinical chemical assays at Sigma Chemical Co. prior to receiving his M.D. from St. Louis University. He then trained in laboratory medicine at Washington University, where he worked with Drs. Jay McDonald and Leonard Jarett on the first studies of subcellular calcium movements in the mechanism of insulin action. He trained with Dr. Jack Ladenson in clinical chemistry and published a variety of studies of serum enzymes, including the demonstration that measured creatine kinase activity could be increased by chelation of calcium by EDTA.

Dr. Bruns moved to the University of Virginia in 1977, where he is currently associate professor of pathology and associate director of clinical chemistry and toxicology. At Virginia, he has collaborated with Drs. John Savory, M. R. Wills, and J. C. Boyd on various studies in clinical chemistry. In addition, Drs. Bruns and Jack Zakowski performed the first purification and characterization of the amylase found in ovarian tumors. In collaboration with Drs. David Benjamin and Ted Mifflin, a specific monoclonal antibody was made and used to measure human pancreatic amylase. At Virginia, Drs. Bruns and David Herold identified the fatal syndrome of poisoning with polyethylene glycols; they have characterized the metabolism of PEG's in vivo and in vitro and developed an animal model of the toxicity. This has led to important changes in the clinical use of PEG-based pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Bruns has been a member of AACC since 1975. He currently serves on the executive committee of the board of editors of Clinical Chemistry and on the endo committee. He is chairman of the Laboratory Utilization Committee and has served on a variety of other AACC committees. He is the immediate past-president of the Association of Clinical Scientists and serves on the editorial board of the Association's Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Science.

During the past 10 years, Dr. Bruns and his wife, Elizabeth, have published a series of investigations of developmental aspects of mammalian calcium transport systems. Most recently, they have shown that epidermal growth factor increases the vitamin D-dependent calcium-binding protein (CaBP) of the intestine. Current studies in their laboratory are directed at understanding the control of CaBP gene expression by growth factors in health and disease.