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Awards and Honors: Nov. 5, 2008

Graybiel wins Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science

Institute Professor Ann Graybiel has won the Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science, which honors and recognizes a woman scientist of national reputation who has a stellar record of research accomplishments and who is known for her mentorship of other women in science. Graybiel will deliver a lecture, titled "Our Habitual Lives: How the Brain Makes and Breaks Habits," on Oct. 30 at Vanderbilt University.

AgeLab director wins GSA award

MIT AgeLab Director Joseph Coughlin has been named as the 2008 recipient of the Gerontological Society of America's (GSA) Maxwell A. Pollack Award for Productive Aging. The Pollack Award recognizes mid-career researchers whose visionary work has demonstrated excellence in translating research into practical application or policy improving the lives of older people.

Dedon paper named top scientific achievement

A paper co-authored by Peter Dedon, professor of biological engineering, has been named one of the top 10 global scientific achievements of 2007 by Scientific American China.

Dedon, in collaboration with researchers from MIT and China's Shanghai Jiaotong University, found that a group of bacterial genes gives them the ability to modify DNA by adding sulfur to the sugar-phosphate DNA backbone as a phosphorothioate. Such a modification had never been seen before in nature.

The paper was published in Nature Chemical Biology in November 2007. Other MIT authors of the paper are lead author Lianrong Wang, a visiting graduate student in the Department of Biological Engineering; Shi Chen, a postdoctoral scientist in the Department of Chemistry; Koli Taghizadeh, a research scientist in the Center for Environmental Health Sciences; and John Wishnok, senior research scientist in the Department of Biological Engineering and the Center for Environmental Health Sciences.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 5, 2008 (download PDF).

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