Distinguished Andrologist Award


This is the highest award of the Society, presented annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the progress of Andrology.


The ASA Awards Committee asks for nominations each year in July. Only ASA members are allowed to nominate individuals for this award. The deadline to submit nominations to the Awards Committee is late August/early September.

2024 ASA Distinguished Andrologist Award Winner

Marie-Claude Hofmann, PhD
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


Marie-Claude Hofmann, PhD     

Dr. Marie-Claude Hofmann is currently a tenured Professor in the Department of Endocrine Neoplasia & Hormonal Disorders at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. She holds a B.S. degree in Cell Biology from the University of Lausanne and a joint Ph.D. degree in Stem Cell and Cancer Biology from the Universities of Zürich and Lausanne, Switzerland. She did her postdoctoral studies in Developmental and Reproductive Biology at the Sanford-Burnham-Prebys Institute in La Jolla, California, under the mentorship of Dr. José Luis Millán. She then established her own research laboratory as an Assistant Professor at the University of Dayton, Ohio, before moving to the University of Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, as an Associate Professor in the Department of Comparative Biosciences. She joined the faculty of the University of Texas at MD Anderson Cancer Center as a Professor in 2012.

Dr. Hofmann’s primary research focus encompasses unraveling signaling pathways involved in normal tissue development with the objective of understanding how their dysregulations lead to male infertility and cancer. Her groundbreaking contributions to reproductive biology began with establishing testicular germ cell and somatic cell lines that continue to be vital for in vitro toxicity testing. Her colleagues underline her instrumental role in generating a mouse spermatogonial stem cell (SSC) line that has been used by many laboratories around the world, contributing to a better understanding of the mechanisms regulating SSC function. Driven by her interest in signaling pathways during tissue development, Dr. Hofmann dissected the GDNF/RET signaling pathway, which plays a crucial role in germline stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. More specifically, she was first to establish that GDNF/RET signaling in stem/progenitor spermatogonia drives SRC-family kinases phosphorylation, in particular FYN kinase. This induces phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3K)/AKT activation and downstream N-MYC upregulation. She also showed that GDNF/RET signaling drives activation of the canonical MAPK pathway, which upregulates c-FOS and Cyclins downstream of ERK1/2.

In response to the concern over emerging toxicants like nanoparticles and plasticizers, Dr. Hofmann explored their effects on spermatogonia proliferation. Notably, she demonstrated that silver nanoparticles disrupted FYN signaling in these cells in vitro without interfering with GDNF binding to the RET/GFRA1 receptor complex. In vivo studies in mice indicated that doses equivalent to that found in humans did not affect the germ line but significantly altered the Leydig cell compartment, impacting testosterone production.

Recognizing the importance of the microenvironment in stem cell maintenance, Dr. Hofmann studied the regulation of the spermatogonial stem cell niche and germ cell homeostasis. Collaborative efforts with Drs. Rex Hess and Paul Cooke at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign revealed the critical role of the transcription factor ETV5 in Sertoli cells for the maintenance of the niche. Follow up work showed that ETV5’s functions extend to regulating chemokine production, supporting the blood-testis barrier, and influencing the crosstalk between GDNF/RET and other signaling pathways. Next, based on earlier transcriptomics data, Dr. Hofmann decided to explore the relationship between GDNF expression and NOTCH/RBPJ signaling in Sertoli cells. Through Sertoli cell-specific gain-of-function and knockout models, her research team conclusively demonstrated that the NOTCH pathway downregulates GDNF and CYP26B1 expression in these cells and that spermatogonia, through the NOTCH ligand JAG1, are driving this process. Therefore spermatogonia, through negative feedback, may regulate both GDNF and CYP26B1 expression in Sertoli cells to ensure their own homeostasis. Dr Hofmann’s current focus is the epigenetic regulation of RBPJ function.

In 2012, Dr. Hofmann joined The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to share her expertise in signaling pathways involving NOTCH, MET, and RET receptors, which are often altered in endocrine cancers. Her current focus includes exploring mutations underlying thyroid cancer progression to anaplastic thyroid cancer, one of the deadliest forms of solid tumors. Another line of research involves studying selective pressure on cancer cells by kinase inhibitors and investigating acquired resistance to these drugs to find replacement therapies. She is presently studying the role of the p38 pathway in acquired resistance to BRAF inhibitors and immunotherapies.

Dr. Hofmann has authored or co-authored more than 100 scientific articles, several of those published in high impact journals, such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Molecular Cancer Research, Cancers, Frontiers in Endocrinology, and others. Her productivity as well as her creativity in opening new avenues of investigation have been rewarded by continuous funding from the NIH. She has trained many undergraduates, graduates and postdoctoral trainees in the field of reproductive biology and cancer research. Dr. Hofmann’s colleagues attest to her enthusiastic, dedicated and effective mentoring of trainees. Together, her professional path and outstanding roles as a scientist, teacher and mentor have been a motivating force for young scientists.

In addition to her scientific achievements, Dr. Hofmann has also served the scientific community in the field of Andrology in many ways including through her work on ASA committees, committees of the Society for the Study of Reproduction, as an Editorial Board member of several journals and as a long-time member of the NIH CMIR study section. Notably, Dr. Hofmann was Deputy Editor, then Editor-in-Chief of Andrology (2020-2024). She has substantially contributed to the success of the journal. During her tenure, the Impact Factor of Andrology increased from 3.1 to 4.6, the annual number of submissions rose from 530 to almost 800, and the yearly number of articles published went up by 30%. Her outstanding leadership and commitment to development and improvement of the journal’s quality and reputation have undoubtedly played a decisive role in this positive development. Dr Hofmann was a superb leader and source of inspiration for her colleagues and associate editors at the journal.

In recognition of her career-long scientific contributions and her leadership and activities to building and enriching our discipline, along with her strong connections with the ASA and EAA, the American Society of Andrology is delighted to award its highest honor, the Distinguished Andrologist Award, to Dr. Marie-Claude Hofmann.  

Award Recipients

  • 2024 Marie-Claude Hofmann, PhD
  • 2023 Ewa Rajpert-De Meyts MD, PhD, DMSc
  • 2022 Dr. Jacquetta Trasler, MD, PhD
  • 2021 R. John Aitken, PhD
  • 2020 Vassilios Papadopoulos
  • 2019 Terry T. Turner
  • 2018 John McCarrey
  • 2017 Masaru Okabe
  • 2016 Barry T. Hinton
  • 2015 Deborah A. O’Brien
  • 2014 Gail Prins
  • 2013 Christina Wang
  • 2012 Erwin Goldberg
  • 2011 Barry Zirkin
  • 2010 Dolores Lamb
  • 2009 William Bremner
  • 2008 Bernard Robaire
  • 2007 Eberhard Nieschlag
  • 2006 Norman Hecht
  • 2005 Mitch Eddy
  • 2004 Ronald Swerdloff
  • 2003 David M. de Kretser
  • 2002 Geoffrey Malcolm Hasting Waites
  • 2001 Frank S. French
  • 2000 Bayard T. Storey
  • 1999 Richard D. Amelar
  • 1998 Ryuzo Yanagimachi
  • 1997 Brian P. Setchell
  • 1996 J. Michael Bedford
  • 1995 Rupert P. Amann
  • 1994 Richard J. Sherins
  • 1993 Anna Steinberger
  • 1992 C. Wayne Bardin
  • 1991 Philip Troen
  • 1990 Marie-Claire Orgebin-Crist
  • 1989 C. Alvin Paulsen
  • 1988 Yves W. Clermont
  • 1987 Emil Steinberger
  • 1986 Alfred D. Jost
  • 1985 Robert H. Foote
  • 1984 Mortimer B. Lipsett
  • 1983 Kristen B.D. Eik-Nes
  • 1982 Eugenia Rosemberg
  • 1981 Alexander Albert
  • 1980 John MacLeod
  • 1979 Thaddeus Mann
  • 1978 Robert S. Hotchkiss
  • 1977 Robert E. Mancini
  • 1976 Roy O. Greep and M.C. Chang