ISPD Pioneer Award

The ISPD Pioneer in Prenatal Diagnosis and Therapy Award was initiated in 2018 to recognize annually those who have been leaders and made major breakthroughs in the science and care of prenatal diagnosis and therapy. Recipients have made significant contributions to the field during their careers. A call for nominations is made once each year and a recipient is selected from the nominees by ISPD leaders. The award is presented at the International Conference on Prenatal Diagnosis and Therapy.


2023 Pioneer Award

The 2023 ISPD Pioneer in Prenatal Diagnosis and Therapy Award was awarded to Mark I Evans, MD (USA). He is President of the Fetal Medicine Foundation of America, Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, President of the International Fetal Medicine and Surgery Society Foundation (IFMSS), and President of Comprehensive Genetics, PLLC. Dr. Evans is considered one of the major key opinion leaders in the fields of prenatal diagnosis, screening, and fetal therapy world-wide. He routinely lectures every year all over the world and is regularly invited as visiting professor to national and international obstetrics and genetics meetings.

Dr. Evans has been a pioneer in the development of many advances in obstetrics including for prenatal diagnosis: chorionic villus sampling, screening techniques for chromosome abnormalities, and in utero fetal muscle biopsy for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He developed the nation’s largest AFP program for Metpath/Corning/Quest, and in conjunction with the Fetal Medicine Foundation has helped develop nuchal translucency screening and training worldwide. In fetal therapy Dr. Evans developed the method for the first prevention of a birth defect preventing genital masculinization in congenital adrenal hyperplasia and was part of the team that did the first open fetal surgery for diaphragmatic hernia and fetoscopic umbilical cord ligation to treat TRAP sequence anomalies. He performed the first successful in utero stem cell transplant to cure a baby with SCIDS – the “bubble babies.” Dr. Evans has been the acknowledged leader in the development and publishing for the fetal reduction procedure through which the outcomes of high order multiple pregnancies have been dramatically improved over the last 30 years. 

Dr. Evans has over 1200 scientific publications including 30 textbooks. He has had multiple NIH grants including being a principal investigator for the search for fetal cells in maternal blood. He has received numerous national and international honors including receiving the President’s Award for Achievement from the Society for Gynecologic Investigation and being elected President of the International Fetal Medicine and Surgery Society twice. He was invited to organize and lectured at a Nobel symposium in Stockholm on fetal diagnosis and therapy in 1998. Dr. Evans has appeared on numerous national news programs such as all three American network news shows, Larry King, specials on Discover, PBS, and foreign networks to explain new technologies and is regularly quoted for his own work and to comment on advances by the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. In 2019 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award and Distinguished Humanitarian Awards from Who’s Who in America and was named by The Best Doctors for Women as one of the top 40 Obstetricians in the United States. Dr. Evans is Past President of the Central Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

In support of this award, ISPD President, Mahesh Choolani, recognized Dr. Evans' 40+ years of professional contributions and his role as a founding member and past Treasurer of ISPD, noting that "Professor Evans truly belongs among the trailblazers in the field of prenatal genetics and screening."

Dr. Evans delivered the 2023 Pioneer Award Lecture titled "The Rubric of the 3 Moore’s " on Tuesday, 20 June 2023, at the 27th International Conference on Prenatal Diagnosis and Therapy in Edinburgh, UK.