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NYU School of Medicine presents 2012 Dart/NYU Biotechnology Achievement Awards

NEW YORK, (April 9, 2012)The Biotechnology Study Center of NYU School of Medicine will hold its 12th annual awards symposium on April 9, 2012, to honor three outstanding leaders in biomedical research. The Dart/NYU Biotechnology Achievement Awards recognize the role of pure science in the development of pharmaceuticals and honors those scientists whose work has led to major advances to improving care provided at the patient's bedside. Recipients of this year's award include:

Dart/NYU Biotechnology Achievement Award in Basic Biotechnology:

Cori Bargmann, PhD, Torsten N. Wiesel Professor and Head of the Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior, The Rockefeller University, for analysis of neural networks that generate the nature and nurture of social behavior, both within and among individuals.

Dart/NYU Biotechnology Achievement Award in Applied Biotechnology:

Eric Lander, PhD, Professor of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Professor of Systems Biology, Harvard University; President and Director, The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, for developing and applying powerful new genomic methods that will provide the ground work for a new biotechnology and personalized medicine.

Dart/NYU Biotechnology Achievement Faculty Award:

Michael Dustin, PhD, the Muriel G. and George W. Singer Professor of Molecular Immunology, NYU School of Medicine, for the first dynamic description of the "immunological synapse" between an antigen-presenting cell and a lymphocyte.

"We applaud the honorees of this year's distinguished awards for their innovative research. Dr Bargmann has worked out how genes and environment interact to form discrete social behaviors. Dr. Lander, one of the principles of The Human Genome Project, has developed new methods to apply the mass of human genomic data to problems of heredity and disease. And NYU School of Medicine's own Dr. Dustin has described the intimate molecular junction between cells that permits our immune system to recognize invaders" said Gerald Weissmann, MD, research professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, and director, Biotechnology Study Center at NYU School of Medicine. "The discoveries made by these three remarkable scientists have already changed our approach to health and disease and they promise even more for the future."

The Biotechnology Study Center is an academic center for the study of biotechnology with the end-goal of significantly improving public health. The Dart/NYU Biotechnology Achievement Awards have been supported by a generous grant from Dart Neuroscience LLC since 2004 and are awarded on behalf of the Fellows of the Center at The Biotechnology Center.


Dart/NYU Biotechnology Achievement Award in Basic Biotechnology:

Cori I. Bargmann, PhD, Torsten N. Wiesel Professor and Head of the Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior, The Rockefeller University

Using the roundworm C. elegans as a model system, Dr. Bargmann has deciphered neural networks that define individual and group behaviors: these "prewired preference maps" describe how nature modifies nurture in taste and olfaction. She has recently found that variation in social behaviors of C. elegans arise from genetic variation in a neuropeptide receptor that modulates a specialized social circuit to integrate environmental and genetic variation to make a single behavioral decision.

Dr. Bargmann received her undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Georgia. She received her PhD in 1987 from MIT where she worked under Robert A. Weinberg at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. She pursued a postdoctoral fellowship with H. Robert Horvitz (also at MIT) until 1991 when she accepted a faculty position at the University of California, San Francisco. She remained there until 2004 when she joined The Rockefeller University as the Torsten N. Wiesel Professor. She has been an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1995. Dr. Bargmann is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She received the 2009 Richard Lounsbery Award from the U.S. and French National Academies of Sciences, the 2004 Dargut and Milena Kemali International Prize for Research in the Field of Basic and Clinical Neurosciences, and the Charles Judson Herrick Award for comparative neurology in 2000.

Dart/NYU Biotechnology Achievement Award in Applied Biotechnology:

Eric S. Lander, PhD, Professor of Biology, MIT; Professor of Systems Biology, Harvard University; President and Director, The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT

A pioneer of the Human Genome Project (HGP), Dr. Lander has developed and applied powerful new methods to discover the genes and regulatory controls that underlie human diseases, laying the ground work for a new biotechnology and personalized medicine. Such genome-wide association studies have not only identified more than 1,500 genes associated with more than 150 traits, but also revealed many new and unexpected pathways in disease.

Dr. Eric Lander is the President and Founding Director of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT and also Co-Chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Dr. Lander attended Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, earned a BA in mathematics from Princeton University in 1978 and a PhD in mathematics from Oxford University in 1981, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. He was an assistant and associate professor of managerial economics at the Harvard Business School from 1981-1990. He served as a Whitehead Fellow from 1986-1989. In 1990, Dr. Lander became Professor of Biology at MIT and a member of the Whitehead Institute. He founded the Whitehead/MIT Center for Human Genome Research which was both a flagship of, and leading contributor to, the HGP and which also became a cornerstone of the new Broad Institute.

Dr. Lander's honors and awards include the MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship in 1987, the Woodrow Wilson Prize for Public Service from Princeton University in 1998, the City of Medicine Award in 2001, the Gairdner Foundation International Award of Canada in 2002, the AAAS Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology in 2004, and the Albany Prize in Medicine and Biological Research in 2010. He became a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 1997 and the Institute of Medicine in 1999.

Dart/NYU Biotechnology Achievement Faculty Award:

Michael L. Dustin, PhD, the Muriel G. and George W. Singer Professor of Molecular Immunology, NYU School of Medicine

Dr. Dustin obtained a BA in Biology from Boston University in 1984 and a PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard University in 1990. As a graduate student with Timothy Springer, he co-discovered intercellular adhesion molecules 1 and 2, demonstrated the interaction of CD58 with CD2, determined the 2D affinity of CD2 for CD58 in a membrane interface, and demonstrated inside-out signaling mediated by the integrin LFA-1 in response to antigen-receptor triggering in T cells. These findings were documented in eight first author papers.

Dr. Dustin completed his post-doctoral training in Stuart Kornfeld's lab at Washington University where he collaborated on defining new signals involved in lysosome biogenesis using novel chimeric enzyme libraries. Dr. Dustin joined the faculty at Washington University in 1993. His collaborative work there led to the first dynamic description of immunological synapse formation using the supported planar bilayer model. Upon moving to NYU School of Medicine in 2001, Dustin's lab focused on the problem of signaling in the immunological synapse and analysis of the immunological synapse in vivo. Recent highlights include collaborative studies establishing a new role of protein kinase C-q in FoxP3+ regulatory T cells and determination of pathogenic mechanisms in viral meningitis. He was promoted to Professor in 2006. Dr. Dustin received a Presidential Early Careers Award in Science and Engineering, a Merit award from the National Institutes of Health, and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences.

Previous awardees include:

Harvard: Matthew Meselson, Stuart Schlossman, Joan Ruderman, Charles Serhan, Judah Folkman, John R. David

MIT: Alexander Rich, Eugene Bell, Leonard Guarente

Rockefeller: Barry Coller, Emil Gotschlich, Paul Greengard, Leslie Vosshall

Contact: Lisa Greiner
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine

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