Endocrine Abstracts (2009) 20

Geoffrey Harris Prize Winner



Jan-Åke Gustafsson, Sweden, Abstract

This prestigious prize is intended for established workers in the field of basic or clinical neuroendocrinology, and is generously supported by Ipsen. This year's recipient is Professor Jan-Åke Gustafsson. The prize will be presented as part of the ECE 2009 opening ceremony where Professor Gustafsson will deliver his lecture. Professor Gustafsson will also deliver two other lectures at future ESE Scientific meetings. Further information can be found at http://www.euro-endo.org/about/about_prizes.htm

Jan-Åke Gustafsson, MD, PhD, has played a pivotal role in discoveries of how nuclear receptors in the cell mediate actions of steroid hormones and other ligands to regulate gene expression. Dr Gustafsson is Professor of Medical Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and is also, since January 2009, Professor and Director of the Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling, University of Houston, Texas.

Dr Gustafsson and collaborators first described the three-domain structure of nuclear receptors, defined the function of these domains, ascertained how the nuclear receptor DNA-binding mechanism mediates effects on transcription of genes, and cloned the first (partial) cDNA sequence of a nuclear receptor. He also was the first to discover that fatty acids are natural activators of the peroxisome proliferator activated nuclear receptor (PPAR). Dr Gustafsson discovered the second type of estrogen receptor (estrogen receptor β) as well as a nuclear receptor that is important in cholesterol metabolism in many tissues, including the central nervous system (liver X receptor β).

Dr Gustafsson has received many rewards during his career: the Svedberg Prize in chemistry in 1982, the Fernström Prize of the Karolinska Institute in 1983, the Anders Jahre Prize in 1992, the Gregory Pincus Medal and Award of the Worcester Foundation in 1994, the Söderberg Prize in Medicine in 1998, the European Medal of the Society for Endocrinology, UK in 2000, and the Fred Conrad Koch Award from the Endocrine Society in the U.S. in 2002. Dr Gustafsson was elected to the Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1997, to the Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences in 1998, became a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000, a foreign honorary member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2002 and a foreign honorary member of the American Philosophical Society 2008.

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