Dr. Roberts joined the National Cancer Institute in 1976. She has achieved international acclaim for her work in growth factor research, having discovered and characterized, together with Dr. Michael Sporn, the cytokine transforming growth factor- (TGF-).
Growth factors are proteins that bind to receptors on cell surfaces to activate cellular proliferation and differentiation. Many growth factors are quite versatile, stimulating cellular division in numerous different cell types, while others are specific to a particular cell-type.
In the nearly 20 years since its discovery and initial characterization, TGF- has emerged as the paradigmatic growth factor, defining the cell- and context-specific actions now attributed to many growth factors. TGF-1 was the first of what is now known to be a large family of over 40 structurally related growth factors.
TGF- is involved in wound healing and in the pathogenesis of diseases such as autoimmune disease, fibrosis, and cancer. New insights into the growth factor's role in these disease processes are now leading to the development of novel therapies based on interference with TGF-, its receptor, or its downstream signaling partners. In her award lecture, Dr. Roberts will discuss TGF-, some of the roles it plays in disease, and several therapeutic strategies based on the growth factor.
Dr. Roberts was recently named the 49th most cited scientist, worldwide, for the period 1982-2002 by the Institute for Scientific Information, making her the second most highly cited woman scientist. She was also amon
Contact: Nicole Kresge
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology