Konrad Hochedlinger awarded Genzyme Fellowship

October 20, 2004

Tags: Jaenisch LabAwards + Announcements

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Konrad Hochedlinger, a postdoctoral associate in the lab of Whitehead Member Rudolf Jaenisch, has been selected by a Whitehead committee to receive the Genzyme Postdoctoral Fellowship at Whitehead Institute. The $90,000 award, sponsored by the Cambridge-based biotech company, completely funds Hochedlinger’s postdoctoral position—including all expenses—for one year.

During Hochedlinger’s five years at Whitehead, he has made several fundamental contributions to the world of biology. In 2002, he showed in the journal Nature that mice can be cloned from mature, highly differentiated cells—something that hadn’t yet been conclusively demonstrated. Later that year he was the co-lead author of a Cell paper that described how embryonic stem cells cured a mouse of an immune system disease, a paper described by Jaenisch as the first conclusive proof that therapeutic cloning works. Recently, with fellow postdoctoral researcher Robert Blelloch, he cloned mice from melanoma cells, an experiment that showed that many properties of cancer can be reversed.

Hochedlinger came to Whitehead in 1999 from the Institute for Molecular Pathology in Vienna Austria, after hearing Jaenisch speak at one of the college’s conferences. “I was fascinated by Rudolf’s talk, and I knew immediately that I wanted to work with him,” he says. He then enrolled as a PhD student at the University of Vienna, conducting all his research in the Jaenisch lab. After completing his PhD in 2003, he decided to stay on as a postdoctoral researcher. “I felt that I needed to complete the work that I’d begun here,” he says. “There was no other place that I could go to that had all the intellectual resources of Rudolf’s lab and the Whitehead community.”

“Konrad is one of the most outstanding coworkers I have had over the last 20 years,” says Jaenisch. “He is smart and thinks deeply about science.”

Hochedlinger plans to spend the upcoming year studying how a particular gene involved in embryonic stem cell development also contributes to certain types of cancer.

“We’ve benefited from our proximity to Whitehead in many informal ways,” says Elliott Hillback, Genzyme’s senior vice president for corporate affairs. “We are very interested in the continued growth of high-caliber young scientists around the Boston area, and that’s why we look forward to future collaborations with Whitehead.”

Written by David Cameron.


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