The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to Andrew Fire and Craig Mello for their discovery of RNA interference, the Nobel Assembly at Sweden's Karolinska Institutet said this week.
In 1998 Fire, a professor of pathology and genetics at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and Mello, a professor of molecular medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, discovered and published the mechanism that can degrade mRNA from a specific gene.
While investigating how gene expression is regulated in the nematode worm, they deduced that RNAi silenced genes and can prevent certain proteins from forming. The discovery of RNAi “clarified many confusing and contradictory experimental observations and revealed a natural mechanism for controlling the flow of genetic information,” the committee said.
The 2006 Nobel Prize is 10 million Swedish kronor, or $1.36 million, which Fire and Mello will share.
The 12th Annual Society for Biomolecular Sciences Conference & Exhibition has awarded its President’s Award this year to Stephen Rees for his “efforts in advancing and enhancing the products and services offered by the Society for Biomolecular Sciences.”
Rees is director in GlaxoSmithKline’s Screening and Compound Profiling Department in the UK, where he is responsible for cell-based HTS and compound profiling in support of local disease areas.