Anthony Pawson wins Kyoto Prize

A microbiologist who changed science's understanding of cell linkurl:signal transduction;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/17076/ and linkurl:protein structure;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15800/ has won the 2008 Kyoto Prize in linkurl:Basic Science.;http://www.kyotoprize.org/ linkurl:Anthony Pawson,;http://pawsonlab.mshri.on.ca/ a British-born scientist who now lives and works in Canada, received the award for "his proposal and proof of the concept of adapter molecul

By | June 20, 2008

A microbiologist who changed science's understanding of cell linkurl:signal transduction;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/17076/ and linkurl:protein structure;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15800/ has won the 2008 Kyoto Prize in linkurl:Basic Science.;http://www.kyotoprize.org/ linkurl:Anthony Pawson,;http://pawsonlab.mshri.on.ca/ a British-born scientist who now lives and works in Canada, received the award for "his proposal and proof of the concept of adapter molecules, which has established one of the basic paradigms in intracellular signal transduction and contributed significantly to the subsequent development of the life sciences," according to the linkurl:Inamori Foundation,;http://www.inamori-f.or.jp/index_e.html which administers the prize. "I'm sort of amazed," Pawson, one of two Canada-based researchers to win this year's prize, said. "It's a wonderful prize." Pawson, who is now an investigator at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital and a professor at the University of Toronto, is best know for his 1986 linkurl:discovery;http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=367222 of the Src homology 2 (SH2) domain, which is essential in cell proliferation, metabolism, and cell-cell communication. Pawson's discovery of the SH2 domain - which functions by binding phosphorylated tyrosine (pTyr) residues - was not only the first identification of what would become the largest class of known pTyr-recognition domains, it heralded a new era in protein science by confirming that proteins were composed of distinct modules with specific functions. Pawson's 1986 paper in __Molecular and Cellular Biology__ has been cited more than 370 times according to ISI. "Now the whole of proteomics and protein signaling is based on this concept that a protein is a series of modular domains," said linkurl:Stephen Lye,;http://www.mshri.on.ca/?page=Dr.%20Stephen%20Lye associate director of the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute. "It was his work on the SH2 domain that was the start of that whole concept." Pawson was born in Maidstone, England and studied biochemistry at the University of Cambridge and at King's College London. After receiving his PhD from King's College, Pawson did a postdoc at the University of California, Berkely before moving on to an assistant professor position at the University of British Columbia in the 1980s. Pawson also drew the link between linkurl:oncogenes;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/52969/ and the SH2 domain, finding that the 100 amino acid sequence that made up the SH2 domain and oncogene products both act as adapters in intracellular signal transduction. linkurl:Piers Nash,;http://nashlab.uchicago.edu/ a University of Chicago biochemist and former postdoc under Pawson, said that Pawson's discovery that proteins are made up of non-catalytic modules that function in protein-protein interactions changed the way that protein structure and function are studied. "It's been extremely powerful for linkurl:structural biology,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/16834/" Nash said. "It's pretty key to ideas of how proteins work." Nash also said that as large-scale genome sequencing came to the fore, Pawson's insights into the conserved nature of protein domains helped researchers recognize familiar parts of unknown protein structures. 'It gave us a handle on inferring what the functions of proteins were based on their primary sequences," Pawson said. Even though he has amassed scientific successes - he's won several prizes, including the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize, the Wolf Prize in Medicine, and the University of Chicago Howard Taylor Ricketts Award, among others - Pawson remains a tireless mentor and champion of science, according to Lye. "He's not a research star that only looks after himself," he said. "He's very generous with his time and support." This year's other Kyoto Prize laureates include linkurl:Richard Karp,;http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~karp/ a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, who won the Advanced Technology prize and linkurl:Charles Margrave Taylor,;http://www.spock.com/Charles-Taylor-(philosopher) a McGill University of Montreal philosophy professor who won the Arts and Philosophy award. Pawson and his fellow laureates will each receive $460,000 in cash, a diploma, and a 20-karat gold medal. They'll travel to Kyoto this November for the awards ceremony, and then attend the Kyoto Laureate Symposium in San Diego next March. Will Pawson, who's currently attending a meeting of the Keystone Symposia scientific advisory board in Keystone, Colorado, celebrate his win in the short term? "Absolutely," he said. "I'll have a linkurl:beer;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/52923/ or two, and perhaps take Monday off."
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Avatar of: Jesus Villar

Jesus Villar

Posts: 3

June 24, 2008

Anthony Pawson deserves the Nobel Prize for his discovery

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