Tom Cech discovered that RNA is not only a a molecule that encodes information but also a catalyst. Cech’s discovery laid the foundations for advances in molecular genetics and a growing appreciation of the biological roles of RNA.
Biologist Larry Gold, an internationally regarded DNA and RNA researcher, co-founded Synergen in 1981, when biotechnology was still an emerging field. In 1992, he founded NeXagen, now part of Gilead Sciences, which develops treatments for infectious disease. And in 2000, he founded SomaLogic with the goal of transforming how diseases are detected and diagnosed.
Leslie Leinwand is renowned for her study of the molecules involved in muscle contraction and heart disease. Her research opens the door to the possibility of personalized heart-disease treatment. Committed to teaching and training, Leinwand is a national influencer in shaping biomedical research policies.
Doug Seals founded the Clinical Translational Research Center in 1999 to establish lifestyle and pharmacological strategies to extend “healthspan,” the period of healthy life. Now, Seals’ research focuses on slowing and preventing cardiovascular disease.
National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging MERIT Award
Tin Tin Su’s innovative work with fruit flies led to the patenting of a compound that keeps radiation-treated cancer cells from re-growing. Her startup, SuviCa, develops cancer therapeutics that exploit a cellular mechanism critical to cancer re-growth after treatment with standard therapies.
Linda Watkins strives to understand how to control pathological pain states. Her work has yielded 300-plus peer-reviewed publications in journals such as Nature, Science and Journal of Neuroscience. A co-founder of Xalud Therapeutics, she is a world-renowned authority on the neurological applications of glial attenuation, focusing on alleviating chronic pain.
John Liebeskind Pain Management Research Award (2010)