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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory scientist elected Fellow of Royal Society

Nicholas Tonks

Cold Spring Harbor, NY — On May 14, the Royal Society of London announced the election of new Fellows to its ranks in recognition of their distinguished achievements in scientific research. Nicholas K. Tonks of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory was among these newly elected Fellows of the Royal Society.

Dr. Tonks is recognized internationally for his studies of a diverse family of enzymes called protein tyrosine phosphatases. Tonks was the first to isolate and characterize one of these enzymes. He has made many discoveries concerning the structure and function of protein tyrosine phosphatases and the roles these enzymes play in several fundamental cellular processes, both under normal conditions and in human disease. In 1997, Tonks and his colleagues at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Columbia University were among the first scientists to demonstrate that abnormalities in the function of a protein tyrosine phosphatase can lead to cancer.

The Royal Society was established in 1660 as an independent academy to promote the natural and applied sciences. Previously elected Fellows of the Royal Society include Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein [Foreign Member], and two Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory scientists, Bruce Stillman (Director, CSHL) and James Watson (President, CSHL [Foreign Member]). Fellowship in the Royal Society is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a scientist. With it comes the privilege of attaching the title “FRS” to one’s name.

Dr. Tonks holds degrees from Oxford University and the University of Dundee. In 1990, after completing postdoctoral studies at the University of Washington in Seattle, Tonks joined the faculty of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Within four years, he achieved the rank of full professor.

In 1993, Tonks received the Colworth Medal, which is awarded annually by the British Biochemical Society to an outstanding British biochemist under the age of 35. In addition to serving on numerous scientific advisory and review boards, Dr. Tonks is author of more than 120 scientific articles and has been an invited speaker at more than 250 universities, research institutions, and scientific conferences in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Written by: Communications Department | | 516-367-8455

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About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. Home to eight Nobel Prize winners, the private, not-for-profit Laboratory employs 1,000 people including 600 scientists, students and technicians. The Meetings & Courses Program annually hosts more than 12,000 scientists. The Laboratory’s education arm also includes an academic publishing house, a graduate school and the DNA Learning Center with programs for middle and high school students and teachers. For more information, visit