September 12, 2008
Warren Triennial Prize honors discoverers of microRNAs

Two investigators who helped to uncover a previously unsuspected world of tiny RNA molecules will be recognized next month with the MGH's highest award for research. Victor Ambros, PhD, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Gary Ruvkun, PhD, of the MGH Department of Molecular Biology, will receive the 2008 Warren Triennial Prize in honor of their discovery that microRNAs play a crucial role in controlling the activity of important genes. The awardees will speak at an Oct. 29 scientific symposium at the Richard B. Simches Research Center.

Working in collaboration and independently over the past two decades, Ambros and Ruvkun were the first to find that tiny segments of RNA can turn off other genes by binding to the target genes' RNA. The mechanism they discovered has been shown to apply to animals ranging from worms to flies to fish to humans, and its application for the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of diseases is just beginning to be explored.

Established in 1871, the Warren Triennial Prize is named for John Collins Warren, a co-founder of the MGH who also performed the first surgical operation on a patient under ether anesthesia. Over the years, 22 Warren Triennial recipients also have received the Nobel Prize. This year's celebration has been expanded to include an evening reception and dinner, featuring a talk by MGH trustee and Nobel Prize-winning geneticist Phillip A. Sharp, PhD, and the award itself increased to $50,000 for each recipient.

More information about the Warren Triennial Prize celebration will appear in an upcoming issue of MGH Hotline.

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