Professor of Genetics Honored by Prize

Arthur Horwich, professor of genetics and pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, won the 2008 Louisa Gross Horwitz Price awarded by Columbia University for outstanding contributions in biology and biochemistry. About half of all Horwitz Prize recipients have later been awarded the Nobel Prize since the award was created in 1967. Horwich was also one of 65 people elected to the Institute of Medicine this year for his achievements in medicine. Horwich studies the molecular mechanisms of protein folding, a highly complex and regulated process that is crucial for the maintenance of life. Misfolded proteins are implicated in at least 20 known diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, cystic fibrosis and Huntington’s disease.

Urry and Donoghue Inducted into Academy of Arts and Sciences

This past week, Meg Urry, professor of physics and astronomy and chair of the Physics Department, and Michael Donoghue, ecology and evolutionary biology professor and the new vice president for West Campus planning and program development, were selected for membership to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious honor societies. The two join a group of eight others from the Yale community whose inductions were announced earlier this year. Urry conducts research on supermassive black holes and their influence on the evolution of galaxies. Donoghue’s research interests lie in the evolution and diversity of plants.

Yale Scientists Identify Genetic Marker to Predict Lung Cancer Risk

Yale scientists at the School of Medicine have found a genetic biomarker that may tip off physicians as to why some people are at an increased risk for lung cancer. The biomarker could help identify certain groups of at-risk people, such as smokers, who should be screened for lung cancer. Joanne Weidhaas, assistant professor of therapeutic radiology at School of Medicine, and her team found the incidence of the biomarker was nearly 4 times as high among those with lung cancer than among a normal group of matched individuals.

Researchers Describe Molecular ‘Traffic Signal’ in the Body

A group of researchers at the Yale School of Medicine have described a ‘traffic signal’, called mTOr, which influences a whole host of diverse processes: insulin production, immune system activation, the creation of new brain cells, and tumor formation. A better understanding of the signal may shed light on a variety of diseases in which these processes are implicated. The researchers are now applying their findings to a search for new medical treatments.