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Dr. Huda Zoghbi to receive 2009 Vilcek Prize in biomedical research
Date:2/9/2009

and together with MIT Professor David Baltimore discovered several key biochemical control mechanisms of how cells self-destruct (a process called programmed cell death), which have important applications in the study of cancer, autoimmunity, and degenerative diseases.

Dr. Chang completed his PhD in two years, and while pursuing medical training in dermatology, began to pursue his postdoctoral research in Professor Patrick Brown's lab at Stanford University. There, he began a new research program to understand the basis of site-specific differences in human skin, resulting in novel modes of gene control that extends from cancer treatment to aging.

To understand why skin cells in diverse parts of the body have different characteristics - how cells know their "positional identities" - a fact that guides the diagnosis and treatment of many skin diseases, Dr. Chang and his colleagues are seeking to define in molecular terms how the expression of different genes in stromal cells determines their ability to affect the development of skin cells. The answers they have discovered so far reveal critical information about gene regulation; specifically, that cells are used to record the positional identity in human tissues, and that the "perturbation," the disturbance, of such programs plays a major role in cancer progression, especially in metastasis, whereby cancer cells spread to other parts of the body. These breakthroughs may suggest new approaches for the treatment of malignant tumors.

Dr. Chang is a highly productive researcher. He has published more than 60 papers in such journals as Nature, Cell, Science, Nature Genetics, PLoS Genetics, Genes and Development, and Genome Research, with more in press. Dr. Chang has received the American Academy of Dermatology Young Investigator Award, the Damon Runyon Scholar Award, and the American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award. He is a member of the
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Contact: Sharu Mundell-Williams
sharu.williams@vilcek.org
917-432-5328
The Vilcek Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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