William A. Catterall, professor and chair of pharmacology at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, is the recipient of the 16th annual Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Neuroscience Research. The $50,000 award is in recognition of Catterall's pioneering discoveries of the sodium and calcium channel proteins.

Catterall discovered the sodium and calcium channel proteins, which were the first two major classes of voltage-gated ion channel proteins. "He is one of the people who opened up the molecular biological study of ion channels," said Eric R. Kandel, who shared the 2000 Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology for his work on neural signal transduction.

As a result of his groundbreaking work, "our understanding is at a completely new level," said Kandel, a professor at Columbia University. "We have been able to characterize diseases on the basis of seeing mutations in the sequence that...

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