Cell biology scientists share Shaw Prize

May 27, 2014

A Japanese scientist and a German-born biophysicist were on Tuesday named joint winners of the prestigious $1 million Shaw Prize for their pioneering research into molecular production.

Kazutoshi Mori and Peter Walter received Asia's highest scientific honour in recognition of their contribution to the understanding of how several diseases can be better treated, organisers said.

Mori, a molecular biologist at Japan's Kyoto University, and Walter—a professor at the University of California in San Francisco, studied how cells ensure that proteins such as insulin are constructed properly.

The scientists discovered a mechanism called the "Unfolded Protein Response" which kicks into action when imbalances in the production of proteins are detected.

Imbalances in can cause diseases including diabetes, cystic fibrosis and cancer. The response regulates or tries to fix irregular protein development.

"The fundamental mechanisms uncovered by Mori and Walter form the basis for understanding and treating a wide range of important diseases," a statement by the award's organisers said.

While Mori and Walter took the "Life Science and Medicine" award, the now in its eleventh year also recognises achievements in the categories of astronomy and mathematical science.

The mathematical prize went to George Lusztig of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his "contributions to algebra, algebraic geometry, and representation theory".

The astronomy prize went jointly to Daniel Eisenstein of Harvard University, Shaun Cole of Durham University and John Peacock of the University of Edinburgh for "their contributions to the measurements of features in the large-scale structure of galaxies".

The Shaw Prize was founded by the late Hong Kong film producer and philanthropist Run Run Shaw.

The prize is dedicated to "furthering societal progress, enhancing quality of life, and enriching humanity's spiritual civilisation".

Shaw, the billionaire film pioneer who launched a media empire that stretched from Hong Kong to Hollywood, died in January at the age of 106.

Explore further: Mathematician wins Shaw Prize for prime numbers, symmetry unification

Related Stories

Bright sparks among 'Asia's Nobel Prize' winners

June 7, 2011

Two scientists who are probing the brightest flashes in the universe were Tuesday named among the winners of the Shaw Prize, the $1 million award known as the Nobel Prize of the east.

US computer graphics scientist wins Kyoto Prize

November 10, 2012

An American regarded as a father of computer graphics, an Indian literary critic and a Japanese molecular cell biologist have received the Kyoto Prize, Japan's highest private award for global achievement.

Biological clock scientists share Asian prize

May 28, 2013

Three scientists whose groundbreaking studies using fruit flies helped to uncover the workings of the human biological clock were Tuesday named the winners of the $1 million Shaw Prize.

Recommended for you

Just how good (or bad) is the fossil record of dinosaurs?

August 28, 2015

Everyone is excited by discoveries of new dinosaurs – or indeed any new fossil species. But a key question for palaeontologists is 'just how good is the fossil record?' Do we know fifty per cent of the species of dinosaurs ...

Fractals patterns in a drummer's music

August 28, 2015

Fractal patterns are profoundly human – at least in music. This is one of the findings of a team headed by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen and Harvard University ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.