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Geneticist wins Rosenstiel Award

Victor Ambros honored for discovery of first microRNA gene

On May 10, Victor Ambros, Professor of Genetics at Dartmouth Medical School, was awarded the 2005 Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Research during a ceremony at Brandeis University. The award honored his discovery of the first microRNA gene and subsequent genetic research. He is among four recipients of the Rosenstiel Award whose recent contributions have furthered understanding of the role that non-coding RNAs have in regulating the genome.

Victor Ambros
Victor Ambros

The Rosenstiel Award is one of the oldest prizes in basic life sciences research and is an excellent predictor of future winners of the Nobel Prizes and Lasker Awards. Accompanied by a $10,000 prize, the award is made on the recommendation of a panel of outstanding scientists selected by the Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center at Brandeis University.

"I am absolutely delighted to receive the 2005 Rosenstiel Award, and very grateful to Brandeis University and the Rosenstiel family for this wonderful honor," said Ambros.

He is being honored for his laboratory's 1993 identification of an unusual gene encoding a small regulatory RNA controlling developmental timing in the nematode C. elegans. Genes encoding this class of small RNA (called microRNAs) turn out to be numerous and seem to be involved in diverse gene regulatory processes in animals and plants. C. elegans, with its relatively simple genetic apparatus, is a stepping stone to discovering important gene products that are probably performing similar functions in humans. "Nematode developmental timing remains a major focus of my lab's research," he said, "but we have also broadened our scope to include the roles of microRNA genes in other animals and in other developmental processes."

Ambros noted that he is particularly pleased to share this year's award with geneticists Andrew Fire of Stanford University School of Medicine, Gary Ruvkun of Massachusetts General Hospital and biochemist Craig Mello of The University of Massachusetts Medical School.

By ANDREW NORDHOFF

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Last Updated: 12/17/08