4 genetics researchers honored by Lasker Foundation

Julie Spitzer - Print  | 

Four scientists have won coveted awards from the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation for their contributions to genetics research and development of a widely-used anesthetic known as "milk of amnesia," the foundation announced Sept. 11.

The Lasker awards, which are regarded as America's top biomedical research prizes, carry an honorarium of $250,000 for each category. The awards will be presented Sept. 21 in New York City.

Here are the four honorees:

1. Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award: Two scientists — Michael Grunstein, PhD, professor emeritus in UC Los Angeles' department of biological chemistry at the David Geffen School of Medicine, and C. David Allis, PhD,  head of the laboratory of chromatin biology and epigenetics at New York City-based Rockefeller University — are sharing this year's award for their joint work on determining how gene expression is influenced by chemically modifying the proteins that package DNA within chromosomes, called histones.

2. Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award: John Glenn, formerly from pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, will receive this award for the discovery and development of propofol, a chemical widely used in anesthesia that acts rapidly and has no residual effects

3. Lasker~Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science: Joan Steitz, PhD, professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., is honored for dedicating nearly 40 years of leadership to biomedical science, during which she has made significant discoveries in RNA biology, mentored upcoming scientists and advocated for women in science

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