Watch the press conference, held at Columbia University. (7:17)

Geneticist Martin Chalfie was named today one of three awardees of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Chalfie, along with Roger Tsien at the University of California San Diego and Osamu Shimomura of Woods Hole, was awarded the prize "for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP." Chalfie is the chair of the department of biological sciences and the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Biological Sciences.

Chalfie's paper describing the uses of GFP appeared 14 years ago (Chalfie et al., 1994). Since then, GFP has become a fundamental tool of cell biology, developmental biology, genetics, neurobiology and the medical sciences. GFP is also the basis of many applications in industry. A measure of the impact of this research is that virtually no issue of any major biological journal is without an article that utilizes this protein or one of its derivatives. Scientists have since used the green fluorescent protein in the study of damaged cells in the process of diseases such as Alzheimer's, genetic disorders and cancers.

"Columbia is extremely proud that our Chair of Biological Sciences, Martin Chalfie is sharing in this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry," said Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger. "He joins an impressive list of Nobel laureates currently on our faculty in a diversity of fields, from literature and economics to physics and medicine."

Martin Chalfie has been a professor at Columbia University since 1982. He received both his bachelor's degree in biochemistry and his doctorate in physiology from Harvard University.

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