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PNNL's Richard Smith named 2010 Scientist of the Year
Date:11/1/2010

disease in blood, making diagnosis or treatment safer and faster. In 2007, Scientific American magazine listed Smith and his collaborator Desmond Smith as one of the top 50 researchers for work to understand the origins of Parkinson's disease by mapping where proteins amass in diseased mouse brains.

Among other work, Smith and colleagues have looked at how bacteria and viruses might cause illness. They've learned breast cancer leaves traces behind in the blood that doctors might exploit someday. Smith has led studies for DOE into possible roles for microbes in making biofuels. In other DOE studies, he's examined how large environmental communities of microbes function in our ecosystem and affect our environment. An intimate understanding of how microbes work will let researchers employ them to trap radioactive contaminants or greenhouse gases.

In accepting the award, Smith joins the ranks of such preeminent scientists as Eric Lander, director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Broad Institute and one of the leaders of the Human Genome Project; Susan Solomon, a NOAA chemist who connected CFCs to the ozone hole; and George M. Whitesides, a Harvard University chemist and winner of the 2009 Dreyfus Prize in the Chemical Sciences for new materials that have significantly advanced the field of chemistry.

"I'm surprised and pleased at the honor, and happy to be in such great company," said Smith. "And I'm especially grateful to the incredibly talented team of researchers at the lab who I have been able to work with."

Much of his group's cutting-edge technology -- including mass spectrometers beefed up with ion funnels and electrospray ionization -- is housed at EMSL, DOE's Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory on the PNNL campus. A number of the developments have been licensed to private companies. R&D Magazine will present the award to Smith at a ceremony in Orlando, Fla. on Nov. 11.


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Contact: Mary Beckman
mary.beckman@pnl.gov
509-375-3688
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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