Whitehead researchers named among Scientific American’s top 50

November 6, 2006

Tags: Lindquist LabYoung LabAwards + Announcements

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Whitehead Members and MIT professors Susan Lindquist and Richard Young, along with postdoctoral scientist Laurie Boyer, have been named in Scientific American magazine’s annual list of the world’s 50 top leaders in research, business or policy. The Scientific American 50 will appear in the magazine’s December issue.

According to the magazine’s editor in chief, John Rennie, “The Scientific American 50 recognizes contributions from individuals and organizations, researchers, business and policy-makers—scientists and non-scientists alike. Not only are their achievements facilitating advances in science and technology, they also have broader significance for us as a society.”

Young and Boyer were both cited for recent work in which they analyzed the genomes of human embryonic stem cells and identified key molecules responsible for the cells’ unique attributes. The editors state that these findings lay the groundwork that may one day enable scientists to reprogram a differentiated cell back into an embryonic stem-cell state. These findings were published September 8 in the online edition of the journal Cell.

Susan Lindquist was cited for work she conducted in collaboration with Whitehead Member Harvey Lodish. Here, the team identified how prions, which are typically associated with neurodegenerative conditions such as mad cow disease, play a critical role in maintaining a class of adult stem cells that produce mature blood cells. These results were published February 14 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Also named in the group of 50 is Harvard University stem cell biologist Kevin Eggan, an alumni of Whitehead Member Rudolf Jaenisch’s lab.

Past Scientific American 50 honorees have included stem cell researcher Douglas A. Melton, Professor of the Natural Sciences at Harvard (2004 Policy Leader of the Year); Nobel prize-winning neurobiologist Roderick MacKinnon, Professor of Molecular Neurobiology and Biophysics at Rockefeller University (2003 Research Leader of the Year); and global public health leader Gro Harlem Brundtland, former World Health Organization Secretary General (2003 Policy Leader of the Year).

Written by David Cameron.

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