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 VOL. 23, NO. 21APRIL 17, 1998 

Richard Axel Will Receive Sigma Xi Scholar Award


Richard Axel, the Columbia biologist who first developed gene transfer techniques that have allowed industry to harness microbes as miniature drug factories, will receive the fourth annual Distinguished Scholar Award from the Kappa Chapter, Columbia, of the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society.

  Axel is to accept the award and deliver a talk on “A Molecular Logic of Olfactory Perception” Apr. 21 in Faculty House on the occasion of the society’s annual awards banquet and initiation of new members.

  The Distinguished Scholar Award is given annually to a person who has been affiliated with Columbia and has made significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge in the pure or applied sciences. Axel is receiving the award “for his distinguished work in molecular biology and neurobiology.”

  “Richard Axel is one of the most celebrated researchers in the Columbia community, one who has pursued a lifetime dedicated to the pursuit of his goal, in this case the biology of memory,” said Christian Meyer, professor of civil engineering in the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and president of the Kappa Chapter of Sigma Xi. “Let us learn from his example and hear what is certain to be a memorable lecture.”

  Axel, the Higgins Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Professor of Pathology and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Columbia’s College of Physicians & Surgeons, developed with colleagues the gene transfer techniques that permit the introduction of virtually any gene into any cell. That early work has allowed biologists to analyze the function of virtually any gene in vivo, but has also allowed the large-scale production of drugs, such as human growth hormone, by inserting human or mammalian genes into bacteria.

  Sigma Xi members who wish to attend should mail a check for $30 per person to Isabel Rivera in the department of chemistry, Havemeyer Hall, Mail Code 3169, or call 854-2204.