Chemists Michael W. Reed, Ph.D., Igor V. Kutyavin, Ph.D., Sergey Lokhov, Ph.D., and Eugeny A. Lukhtanov, Ph.D., of Epoch Biosciences Inc. in Bothell, Wash., will be honored June 15 by the worlds largest scientific society for creating better tools for genetic analysis. They will receive one of two 2001 Industrial Innovation Awards at the American Chemical Societys Northwest regional meeting in Seattle.
Researchers use tools called probes to help them identify certain genes — hereditary units of genetic information used by cells to determine everything from hair color to disease. DNA probes work like molecular light switches, turning on only when they find DNA that contains a specific gene.
Different probes are needed for every gene, and producing probes is often difficult. The Epoch Biosciences team has found a way to make the process easier by creating a new class of DNA probes that are shorter, more gene specific and more tolerant of the high temperatures they are exposed to during analysis.
"As a result of these innovations, these probes have been brought from a laboratory discovery to practical products for global welfare," said William G. Gerber, M.D., chief executive officer at Epoch Biosciences Inc. Researchers are using DNA probes to decipher the human genome, diagnosis diseases such as leukemia, and screen for inherited diseases.
The American Chemical Societys Industrial Innovation Awards recognize individuals and teams whose discoveries and inventions contribute to the commercial success of their companies and enhance our quality of life.