Hudson Freeze appointed to Distinguished Endowed Chair, thanks to gift from grateful supporter

| Written by Susan Gammon
Hudson Freeze, Ph.D. headshot in office

An endowed chair is among the highest forms of recognition for a faculty member’s research, teaching and service.

Thanks to a generous gift from Dinah C. Ruch, Professor Hudson Freeze, Ph.D., director of the Sanford Children’s Health Research Center at Sanford Burnham Prebys, has received the William W. Ruch Distinguished Endowed Chair. The newly created chair will support Freeze’s research on congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDGs) and rare children’s diseases.

Dinah Ruch
Dinah C. Ruch

Freeze is a world-renowned expert on CDGs, a severe group of diseases that affect fewer than 2,000 children worldwide. He has been working on CDGs for more than 25 years and has worked with hundreds of patients from around the world. The condition occurs when sugar molecules on many of our proteins are absent or incomplete, leading to serious, often fatal, malfunctions in various organ systems throughout the body.

In 2007, Ruch established “The Rocket Fund” to support the heroic battle against heartbreaking rare and neglected children’s diseases. Ruch’s interest in CDG research was a result of her own family’s experience.

“My grandson John, whom we called ‘Rocket,’ was born with a CDG,” says Ruch. “Our doctors were able to quickly diagnose the disease, thanks to Dr. Freeze, who has now become a lifelong friend. Though we weren’t able to save Rocket, we are keeping his legacy alive by establishing this endowed chair to support Dr. Freeze and his commitment to finding a cure.”

Freeze’s impact on the lives of families living with CDG extends well beyond the walls of his lab. Since 2010, he has organized an annual Rare Disease Symposium, where scientists, doctors and families gather from around the world to discuss the latest research and meet other families coping with rare diseases.

“Patients are often diagnosed with rare genetic diseases at birth or in childhood, and families are usually overwhelmed by dealing with the diagnosis and complicated care regimens,” says Freeze. “I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to provide support to help these families through our work at the Sanford Children’s Health Research Center.

“I’m so very grateful to receive this honor from Dinah Ruch—and will continue my life’s work to provide education and resources so that people may live with the highest quality of life possible, and may one day, in fact, thrive.”

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