University of Massachusetts Medical School researcher Victor Ambros has been named a co-recipient of the 2014 Gruber Genetics Prize along with Harvard Medical School's Gary Ruvkun and University of Cambridge's David Baulcombe for their pioneering work on microRNAs and siRNAs.
It was Ambros who in 1989 led work that identified the first miRNA. That research was later expanded upon in collaboration with Ruvkun, who helped show that the small, non-coding RNA repressed specific gene targets.
Baulcombe made similar discoveries in plants, identifying small RNAs involved in viral defense, transposable elements, and gene expression. His work helped lay the foundation for the discovery of RNA interference.
The Gruber Genetics Prize includes a $500,000 unrestricted cash award, which will be presented to this year's recipients at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics in October.