Columbia investigators win 2003 Gairdner International Award for research

Two Columbia University researchers, Dr. Richard Axel and Dr. Wayne A. Hendrickson, will receive the 2003 Gairdner International Award in recognition of their contributions that have led to the advancement of health care. The 44th annual award honors achievements in neuroscience and immunology.

"We congratulate Drs. Axel and Hendrickson on receiving this wonderful award that recognizes their remarkable achievements," says Dr. Gerald Fischbach, executive vice president for health and biomedical sciences and dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Columbia University. "Both scientists have opened new areas of research with innovative methodologies and have made revolutionary discoveries about molecular interactions in the immune system and in the brain."

Dr. Axel, University Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons (P&S) and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, is being recognized with Dr. Linda B. Buck, a former fellow of Dr. Axel's at P&S. Dr. Buck now is a full member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Basic Sciences Division. Dr. Axel and Dr. Buck have combined molecular genetics and neurobiology to address the problem of olfactory sensory perception. They have defined the genes involved in odor recognition and the neural circuits engaged in odor discrimination. Their discoveries provide new insight into how smell, the evocative sense, is represented in the brain.

Dr. Hendrickson, University Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at P&S and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, is one of the world's preeminent structural biologists. He developed a method to speed the determination of atomic structures for biological molecules from the X-ray diffraction of crystals. Dr. Hendrickson's research team determined the structure of a key molecule that the AIDS virus uses to atta

Contact: Leslie Boen
Columbia University Medical Center

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