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The 2014 HFSP Nakasone Award goes to Uri Alon
Date:9/3/2013

gm for understanding the fundamental design principles of cells. Moreover, Alon made advances in the theory of how genetic circuits and biological modules evolve. His work on multi-objective optimization (Pareto optimality) and cost-benefit analysis in evolution has led to deep, predictive insights into the architecture of genetic circuits.

The discovery of the network motifs has given rise to the systems biology of cellular circuitry. Recognizing this influence, the 6th edition of Watson's classic textbook "Molecular Biology of the Gene" displays Alon's Feed-Forward Loop motif on the cover, replacing the double helix that appeared on the first edition. Network motifs now provide the very language in which genetic networks are imagined, discussed, and explained.

The principle of motif-based analysis of networks has numerous applications beyond biology and provides a beautiful example of a concept discovered in biology that influences other fields throughout science. "Alon showed how the network motif concept he pioneered can be used to identify the most important functional building blocks in social, ecological, and economic networks. Moreover, as biology increasingly expands to include synthetic approaches to building new genetic circuitry, Alon's motifs are providing the guiding design principles for the new field of synthetic biology. Finally, Alon has made this work accessible to the entire biological community through a textbook, numerous explanatory articles, and a series of remarkably clear and pedagogical lectures, some widely available on the web."


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Contact: Rosalyn Huie
rhuie@hfsp.org
Human Frontier Science Program
Source:Eurekalert

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