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September 20, 2006

AWARDS

Three Share Lasker Prize

Blackburn, Greider, and Szostak are honored for telomerase research

Stu Borman

UC SAN FRANCISCO

Blackburn

JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

Greider

MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL PHOTO SERVICE

Szostak

CARNEGIE INSTITUTION

Gall

The Albert & Mary Lasker Foundation, in New York City, has announced its 2006 medical research awards, which are often harbingers of Nobel Prizes.

The Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research goes to professor of biology and physiology Elizabeth H. Blackburn of the University of California, San Francisco; molecular biology and genetics professor Carol W. Greider of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and genetics professor Jack W. Szostak of Harvard Medical School.

The three earned the award for predicting and discovering telomerase, an RNA-containing enzyme that protects chromosome ends from becoming progressively shorter after cell divisions. When this work was carried out in the 1970s and ???80s, the significance of telomerase was not clear, but the enzyme has since become a focus of antiaging research and an important target for anticancer agents.

Szostak says he found the prize "pretty exciting and pretty surprising too, because this work was done quite a while ago."

There are two other Lasker awardees this year. Staff scientist Joseph G. Gall of the Carnegie Institution, Baltimore, receives the 2006 Albert Lasker Award for Special Achievement in Medical Science for his 57-year career as a founder of modern cell biology and chromosome structure and function studies, among other achievements. And the 2006 Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award goes to professor of psychiatry Aaron T. Beck of the University of Pennsylvania for having developed cognitive therapy.

Blackburn, Greider, and Szostak share a $100,000 stipend, and Gall and Beck each receive that amount individually. Awardees also receive citations and inscribed Winged Victory of Samothrace statuettes that represent "humanity's victory over disability, disease, and death," according to the foundation.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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