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MBI Director to receive Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences

08 February 2012



Prof Sheetz has been named a recipient of the 11th annual Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences for his work on how cargo is moved by molecular motors along two different systems of tracks within cells

Prof Michael Sheetz, Director of the Mechanobiology Institute (MBI), Singapore, Distinguished Professor of the Department of Biological Sciences, NUS and William R Kenan Junior Professor at Columbia University, has been named a recipient of the 11th annual Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences.

He will be sharing the award with Dr James Spudich from Stanford University and Prof Ronald Vale from University of California, San Francisco for their work explaining how cargo is moved by molecular motors along two different systems of tracks within cells.

Understanding motor functions in cells can help provide an insight into treating deficiencies which lead to disease. Prof Sheetz and Prof Vale, together with colleague Dr Thomas Reese, carried out investigations that led to the discovery of kinesins, a new family of motor proteins. These proteins play a major role in cellular processes such as the separation of chromosomes during cell division. Deficiencies in kinesins are responsible for several diseases relating to the kidney and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a neurological disorder.

The Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences recognises contributions that have opened new fields of research or have advanced novel concepts or their applications in a particular biomedical discipline. Five past recipients of the Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences have also been awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

Prof Sheetz's current research focuses on understanding the basic cellular processes such as mechanisms that drive the differentiation of stem cells, the development of cancer and the immune response. He heads an outreach programme as Editor-in-Chief of the educational website www.mechanobio.info launched in January. This wiki-based resource provides a wealth of information on different aspects of cell mechanical functions. It is created at MBI, an NUS-supported Research Centre of Excellence funded by the National Research Foundation and the Ministry of Education.


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