The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) announced that James Briscoe of the Medical Research Council's National Institute for Medical Research will receive the prestigious EMBO Gold Medal for 2008.
Briscoe receives the award in recognition of his discovery that cells integrate time of exposure and concentration of a morphogen to subsequently mount a graded response.
Awarded annually, the EMBO Gold Medal recognises the outstanding contributions of young researchers in the molecular life sciences. Widely regarded as the most prestigious award of its kind in Europe, the Gold Medal highlights the high standards of Europe's best scientists.
"James Briscoe has revolutionized our understanding of the specification of cell identity in a given spatial setting," said Hermann Bujard, EMBO Executive Director. "His work exemplifies how talented scientists are advancing the field of molecular biology."
Four years at Columbia University in New York as a postdoc in Thomas Jessell's lab laid the foundation for Briscoe's career as a developmental biologist. James says he "learned" developmental biology from working alongside Jessell and a "great" postdoc in the lab at the time, Johan Ericson.
While at Columbia University, Briscoe began to unravel the control mechanisms of neuronal cell identity in the ventral neural tube a research theme sustained in his own lab at NIMR since taking up a group leader position in 2000. Specifically, the Briscoe lab studies the central role of the morphogen Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) to specify the position and subtype identity of neurons in the ventral spinal cord.
"We want to understand how neurons - nerve cells are arranged in the spinal cord," explains the EMBO Gold Medal winner for audiences other than his peers. "Specifically we are looking at the molecular basis of how different neuronal cells are organized in a developing embryo as a result of signals received from an important
|Contact: Suzanne Beveridge|
European Molecular Biology Organization