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Vilcek Foundation honors renowned neuroscientist and young researchers with creative promise
Date:1/28/2014

mvardas, associate professor of Anatomy at the University of California, San Francisco, investigates the molecular mechanisms behind the expression of mammalian olfactory receptors (OR). There are over 1,000 kinds of OR genes in humans, belonging to a complex sensory system used to detect millions of odorants. However, each OR neuron only expresses one OR gene; Lomvardas' lab revealed that the basis of this singular expression is an unusual form of epigenetic silencing that assures thousands of OR alleles remain inactive in each olfactory sensory neuron. These findings, and other continued epigenetics research, are important to understanding not only the mammalian OR system, but also shed light on other developmental processes in the brain. Lomvardas was born in Greece.

Pardis Sabeti is an associate professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and an associate member of the Broad Institute. As a computational biologist, Sabeti develops algorithms to detect patterns in human genomes that signify recent evolutionary mutations that were biologically important for our survival. Such genomic mutations elucidate how infectious diseases evolve, adapt, spread, and could be prevented. In the course of her research, Sabeti has studied several agents that cause infectious diseases, such as the malaria parasite, Lassa virus, and Ebola virus, and has investigated the mutations that cause resistance to them. Sabeti was born in Iran.

The prizewinners were selected by panels of independent experts in the field of biomedical science. All prizewinners will be honored at a ceremony in New York City in April 2014. Huda Zoghbi, winner of the 2009 Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Science and professor at Baylor College of Medicine, will present the arts prizes.


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Contact: Phuong Pham
phuong@vilcek.org
212-472-2500
Vilcek Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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