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MBL director and CEO and cell biology pioneer Gary Borisy elected to National Academy of Sciences

MBL, WOODS HOLE, MACell biologist Dr. Gary G. Borisy, director and CEO of the MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) has been elected to The National Academy of Sciences (NAS), an honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research. The achievement, considered one of the highest honors in American science and engineering, was announced today at the Academy's 146th annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Dr. Borisy is one of 72 new members and 18 foreign associates from 15 countries elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

"This very significant honor recognizes Gary's very substantial contributions to cell biology as well as his leadership in the basic and biomedical sciences," said John W. Rowe, chairman of the MBL's Board of Trustees. "We are proud to have Gary at the helm of the MBL. He sets an exceptionally high standard for our scientists and is an outstanding role model for our students."

The Academy membership is composed of just over 2,000 active NAS members, of whom nearly 200 have won Nobel Prizes. Two hundred nineteen Academy members are affiliated with the MBL, either as members of the Corporation, faculty, or alumni. Among this year's inductees are MBL alumni Lorena Beese of Duke University Medical Center and Jay Dunlap of Dartmouth Medical School and former MBL course faculty Caroline Harwood of the University of Washington and Paul Sternberg of the California Institute of Technology.

In 1965, Dr. Borisy discovered the protein tubulin, which comprises a key part of the cell's cytoskeleton. He has also provided important insights into chromosome movement; the role of the protein actin, a major component of cell motility; and the dynamics of microtubules, filaments that help direct cell division.

"Gary Borisy is one of the great pioneers of cell biology," said Tim Hunt, 2001 Nobel Laureate and principal scientist at Cancer Research UK. "The identification of tubulin was a landmark, a turning point in the field."

In 2006 Dr. Borisy became the MBL's 13th Director and 3rd CEO. Previously he was Associate Vice President for Research and the Leslie B. Arey Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. After serving a postdoctoral fellowship at the MRC in Cambridge, England, Dr. Borisy joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, rising through the professional ranks to Chairman of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Perlman-Bascom Professor of Life Sciences, before moving to Northwestern in 2000.

Dr. Borisy first came to the MBL in 1965 as a student and returned in 1972 to establish a summer laboratory where he conducted research for five years on cytoskeleton formation. He also served as a consultant to the MBL's Physiology course in 1982 and 1983.

As director and CEO, Dr. Borisy has played a key role in numerous MBL accomplishments, including the acquisition of $10 million in state funds awarded to the MBL last year as part of the historic $1 billion Massachusetts Life Sciences Act. Most recently, Dr. Borisy was instrumental in the formation of the Woods Hole Consortium, a new alliance between the MBL, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Woods Hole Research Center that brings the combined scientific power of the three institutions to bear on some of the major issues facing society today.

In addition to his administrative duties, Dr. Borisy also leads the MBL's Combinatorial Imaging Group, which is developing new imaging techniques to observe and identify different species of microbes, such as bacteria.

Dr. Borisy is the author of more than 200 papers, the editor of two books, and has received numerous professional honors, including an NIH Merit award and the Carl Zeiss award from the German Society for Cell Biology. He has served as president of the American Society for Cell Biology and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the biotech company CombinatoRx, located in Cambridge, MA.

Dr. Borisy will be inducted into the Academy next April during its 147th annual meeting in Washington, D.C.


Contact: Gina Hebert
Marine Biological Laboratory

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