|Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences Awarded to Dr. Michael Sheetz
Eleventh Annual Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences
Awarded to Dr. Michael Sheetz, Dr. James Spudich, and Dr. Ronald Vale.
Hoboken, N.J., January 31, 2012 — Deborah
E. Wiley, Chairman of The Wiley Foundation, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (NYSE:
JWa & JWb), 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
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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