FASEB society members win major prizes

By | October 6, 2016

Seven scientists with ties to the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology were among the 2016 winners of the Nobel Prize, Lasker Awards, and MacArthur “Genius Grants.”

Yoshinori Ohsumi, PhD, a member of both the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) and the Genetics Society of America, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering the process of autophagy, by which cells destroy and recycle materials. Ohsumi’s research in yeast revealed a fundamental physiological process with important implications for cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, immunological function, and aging.

Among the winners of the Lasker Basic Medical Research Award were Gregg Semenza, MD, PhD, a member of ASBMB and The American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), and William Kaelin, Jr, MD, also a member of ASCI. Semenza and Kaelin received the award for their roles in the discovery of a molecular pathway that works to sense and adapt to changes in oxygen.

ASBMB members Charles Rice, PhD, and Ralf Bartenschlager, PhD, also shared a portion of the Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research. Their research enabled the study of the hepatitis C virus in the lab, which ultimately opened the door to the development of new therapies and treatments.

Winning the 2016 Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science was ASBMB member Bruce Alberts, PhD. Alberts was honored for his fundamental research on DNA replication, his leadership of scientific institutions such as the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and his advocacy for STEM education.

Rebecca Richards-Kortum, PhD, a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society, received a MacArthur Fellowship. Richards-Kortum uses nanotechnology, molecular imaging, and microfabrication techniques to engineer creative solutions for medical tools in developing countries. She also developed a curriculum to engage undergraduates in the development of these technologies.

“What a great source of pride when researchers in our member societies are recognized for their outstanding contributions,” said FASEB President, Hudson Freeze, PhD.