You are in: News

2011 Lasker Award for two founding members of the Cell Stress & Chaperones Editorial Board

Professors Franz-Ulrich Hartl (Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry) and Arthur L. Horwich (Yale University) have received the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for 2011.  They were recognized for their individual and collaborative work on protein folding in cells and their organelles.   They are shown below along with Professor John Ellis, another founding member of the CSAC Editorial Board, on the earlier occasion of their Gairdner Awards presented on 21 October 2004 (L to R, Ulrich, Art and John, photo courtesy of David Williams):

Carl Zimmer wrote a nice article in the New York Times that gives more of the human side of Art’s career with a few words about Ulrich and other of his collaborators.  More of the scientific context can be found in Evelyn Strauss’ article on the Lasker Foundation website.  The early days following the first look at the structure of the chaperonin cages and the building of the mechanistic pathways generated great interest at the Cold Spring Harbor meetings.  Those of us who were there recall the sparring matches at the podium between Ulrich and George Lorimer who had different points of view.  I was struck by how their proposed pathways reflected their demeanors and personalities.  Ulrich’s descriptions had the precision of a finely tuned BMW engine that matched perfectly with his close cropped hair and beard of precisely the same length, in micrometers of course.   Remember the ‘jack-in- the-box’ model? In contrast, the large and looming George Lorimer presented a less well arranged image, shall we say, which complemented his more organic mechanisms that described a molecular pas de deux as partially folded proteins interacted with the cages. And then there were the seemingly endless arguments over the bullets and footballs, structures seen in the electron microscope showing one and two lids respectively on the molecular cages.  Was the bullet the true intermediate and the footballs artifacts, or vice versa.  It was great fun and stimulated the field!

Ulrich and Art were both members of the original editorial board of our journal.  Art remains as one of the longest serving members of Cell Stress & Chaperones journal.  Ulrich gave the Opening Lecture entitled “Molecular Chaperones in Protein Folding and Proteostasis” at the Fifth International Congress on Stress Response in Biology and Medicine held by the Cell Stress Society International in Quebec City, August 22, 2011 (photo courtesy of Larry Hightower):