CSHL molecular biologist honored by National Academy of Sciences

Gregory J. Hannon’s RNA interference is an extraordinary achievement

Cold Spring Harbor, New York -- Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) congratulates faculty member Gregory J. Hannon who was honored today by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for his extraordinary scientific achievement in molecular biology.

CSHL Professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Hannon received the NAS 2007 Award in Molecular Biology for elucidation of the enzymatic engine for RNA interference.  “Hannon’s RNA interference research at CSHL is an example of the groundwork done at CSHL which paves the way for new approaches to understanding and treating diseases such as cancer,” said CSHL President Bruce Stillman, Ph.D.  This award is supported by Pfizer Inc. and has been presented since 1962. 

Hannon’s work is focused on double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) that triggers a sequence specific gene silencing response known as RNA interference or RNAi.  RNAi is a conserved biological pathway that can be found in plants, animals and fungi.  “As our understanding of the biology and biochemistry of RNAi deepens, we have worked to harness this pathway as a tool for probing gene function in mammals. We are working to apply the RNAi pathway as a tool to unravel oncogene and tumor suppressor pathways and to identify new anticancer targets,” said Hannon.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare.  Since 1863, the National Academy of Sciences has served to "investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art" whenever called upon to do so by any department of the government.  For more information about the NAS and its 2007 awards, please visit http://national-academies.org.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is a private, non-profit research and education institution dedicated to exploring molecular biology and genetics in order to advance the understanding and ability to diagnose and treat cancers, neurological diseases, and other causes of human suffering.  For more information, visit www.cshl.edu.