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UMMS researcher Victor Ambros, Ph.D., named co-recipient of 2012 Janssen Award for Biomedical Research
Date:6/19/2012

rstand its full significance. We now know that microRNAs have key functions in a variety of human diseases, ranging from hyperlipidemia (high blood cholesterol) to cancer," said Terence R. Flotte, MD, executive deputy chancellor, provost, and dean of the School of Medicine.

Since the discovery of microRNAs in 1993, these regulatory molecules have been implicated in a wide range of both normal and pathological activities including embryonic development, blood-cell specialization, muscle function, heart disease and viral infections. Their discovery has opened new fields of research and has implications for the development of new therapeutic treatments and diagnostic tools.

Working independently, Dr. Ambros and Dr. Ruvkun led the groups that identified the first microRNA and the first microRNA target. Dr. Ambros' lab yielded the discovery of the first microRNA and Dr. Ruvkun's lab identified how that microRNA regulates its target messenger. Working together, they demonstrated that the microRNA inactivates its target through direct, base-pairing interactions. MicroRNAs have been linked to cancer and identified as regulators of numerous other developmental events in both plants and animals. As a result of this discovery, researchers are now exploring microRNAs for use in diagnosis and prognosis as well as potential therapies.

"We are honored to join the distinguished list of past awardees of the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research," said Ambros, the Silverman Chair in Natural Sciences and professor in the Program in Molecular Medicine at UMass Medical School in Worcester, MA. "It is a testament to the wisdom of private and government patrons that fundamental research such as ours was supported over the years, and that it is paying off in new understanding of disease processesand possibly in cures for patients."

"Our research grew out of long-standing traditions in the field aiming to unearth molecular explanations for how bi
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Contact: Jim Fessenden
james.fessenden@umassmed.edu
508-856-2000
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Source:Eurekalert

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