Baltimore, MD--The Lasker Foundation awarded Carnegie's Joseph G. Gall the prestigious 2006 Lasker Award for Special Achievement in Medical Science. The citation recognizes that Gall is "a founder of modern cell biology who has made seminal contributions to the field of chromosome structure and function, who invented in situ hybridization, and who has been a long-standing champion of women in science."
Gall has been staff scientist at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Embryology and adjunct professor of The Johns Hopkins University since 1983, and a Professor of Developmental Genetics of the American Cancer Society since 1984. His in situ hybridization technique, developed with graduate students Mary Lou Pardue and Susan Gerbi in 1969, is a powerful method that allows researchers to locate and map genes and specific sequences of DNA on a chromosome. It revolutionized molecular biology and is now used worldwide in gene studies.
"Joe Gall's achievements are a realization of Andrew Carnegie's original dream," remarked Carnegie president Richard Meserve. "Carnegie believed that if exceptional individuals are set free to work in an environment without constraints extraordinary discoveries will result."
Education and Career Path
As a teenager, Gall spent summers on a farm in northern Virginia, where his interest in the natural world flourished. "After much urging, my parents bought me a microscope when I was 14 years old--not one of the toys I had struggled with up to that time, but the real thing," he reflected. Without a local high school to attend, Gall was sent to a boarding school near Charlottesville, Virginia, where after three years the headmaster thought he was ready to go to college.
"How Yale was chosen I am not sure, but I arrived in New Haven in June 1945, just as the Second World War was coming to a close."