Deborah E. Wiley, Chairman of The Wiley Foundation, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., announced today that the eleventh annual Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences will be awarded to Dr. Michael Sheetz, a William R Kenan Jr. Professor at Columbia University; Dr. James Spudich, Stanford University, and Dr. Ronald Vale, University of California, San Francisco.
"The Wiley Prize is being awarded to Dr. Michael Sheetz, Dr. James Spudich, Stanford University, and Dr. Ronald Vale for explaining how cargo is moved by molecular motors along two different systems of tracks within cells," said Dr. Günter Blobel, Chairman of the awards jury for the Wiley Prize.
Many basic cellular functions depend on the directed movement of macromolecules, membranes or chromosomes from one place to another within the cell. The transport of this intracellular cargo is achieved by molecular motor proteins, such as myosin and kinesin, which provide force and movement through the conversion chemical energy (ATP) into mechanical energy. Molecular motor proteins move along scaffolds made of specific protein polymers (kinesin along microtubules and myosin along actin filaments) carrying their cargo to its proper place in the cell.
Understanding motor functions in cells is integral to understanding and treating deficiencies which lead to disease. For example, Kinesin deficiencies have been identified as cause for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and some kidney diseases.
Dr. Sheetz, Dr. Spudich, and Dr. Vale’s continuing work on the mechanisms behind cell transformation aim to answer questions such as: What is the extent of the involvement of these two pathways in a variety of phenomena from fertilization to brain function? How do collections of protein machines function together to generate complex behavior in living cells?
The Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences recognizes contributions that have opened new fields of research or have advanced novel concepts or their applications in a particular biomedical discipline. It honors a specific contribution or a series of contributions that demonstrate significant leadership and innovation. The award will be presented to Dr. Michael Sheetz, Dr. James Spudich, and Dr. Ronald Vale on April 6 at The Rockefeller University in New York City.
Dr. Blobel, a John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Professor of Cell Biology at The Rockefeller University, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1999. The Wiley Prize awards jury also includes Dr. Qais Al-Awqati, a physiologist at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons; Dr. David J. Anderson, a developmental neurobiologist at the California Institute of Technology; Dr. Joan A. Steitz, a molecular biologist at Yale University; and Dr. H. Robert Horvitz, a biologist at MIT and recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.
Last year's Wiley Prize recipients were Dr. Lily Jan and Dr. Yuh Nung Jan for their molecular identification of a founding member of a family of potassium ion channels that control nerve cell activity throughout the animal kingdom.
Among the many distinguished past recipients of the Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences, five have also been awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn and Dr. Carol Greider, recipients of the Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences in 2006, received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase. Dr. Andrew Z. Fire and Dr. Craig C. Mello, co-recipients of the Wiley Prize in 2003, received the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of RNA interference—gene silencing by double-stranded RNA. Dr. H. Robert Horvitz, a co-recipient of the first Wiley Prize in 2002, shared the 2002 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his respective work on how genes regulate organ development and cell death.
The Wiley Foundation and the Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences were established in 2001 to acknowledge the contributions of the scholarly community to the Company's corporate success. Through this award Wiley seeks to recognize and foster ongoing excellence in scientific achievement and discovery.
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