New York, NY, June 5, 2008 Allan C. Spradling, Ph.D., of the Carnegie Institution for Science and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) in Baltimore, is the recipient of the 2008 Genetics Prize of the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation for his work on fruit fly genomics and for "fundamental discoveries about the earliest stages of reproduction."
For his contribution to developmental genetics, Spradling, director of Carnegie's Department of Embryology, will receive the Gruber Genetics Prize on July 13, 2008, at the International Congress of Genetics in Berlin. The prize consists of a gold medal and $500,000.
"Allan Spradling is a stellar choice for the Gruber Genetics Prize. He is a brilliant and visionary scientist who has revolutionized developmental genetics and biology several times over," says Margaret Fuller, Ph.D., a leading stem cell geneticist at Stanford University.
"Allan is a true biologist. Whenever I talk with him I always learn something important about my own field that I had not previously considered. In addition to his own terrific research, Dr. Spradling has trained and mentored many excellent young scientists who are extending his impact in genetics and developmental biology even further," she adds.
Spradling and his colleague Gerald Rubin, who now directs HHMI's Janelia Farm research campus, carried out the first successful gene therapy in a many-celled organism, the fruit fly Drosophila. Spradling went on to show how to use engineered DNA segments to induce mutations, greatly accelerating the ability of researchers to determine the function of Drosophila genes and their human counterparts. Together, these advances inaugurated the modern era in which Drosophila serves as a versatile model organism for studying human development and disease.
Spradling subsequently used the Drosophila system to advance our understanding of stem cells. Working with the ovary, he identified the first stem cell "
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The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation