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Thursday, April 17, 2014

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Botstein wins Gruber Genetics Prize

David Botstein, the incoming director of Princeton's Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics , has been selected to receive the 2003 Genetics Prize of the Peter Gruber Foundation .

Botstein, who is currently the Stanford Ascherman, M.D., Professor and chair of the Department of Genetics at the Stanford University School of Medicine, will receive a gold medal and $150,000 on July 10 at a meeting of the International Congress of Genetics in Melbourne, Australia.

The Gruber Foundation, which established and first presented the annual award in 2001, cited Botstein for his wide-ranging and fundamental contributions to genetic research. Calling him a "powerhouse of innovation," the foundation said "his concepts and strategies have repeatedly opened new avenues for modern genetic research."

Princeton selected Botstein as director of the genomics institute in September 2002. He will succeed Shirley M. Tilghman, who was the founding director of the institute and is now president of the University, and James Broach, who is acting director. Botstein's appointment will begin July 1.

Botstein's contributions to modern genetics range from early pioneering work in yeast and bacteria to recent studies of cancer-causing genes. In 1980, he cowrote a paper that laid the groundwork for the Human Genome Project.

In its award announcement, the Gruber Foundation also noted Botstein's record as an innovative educator and as a leader in bridging the disciplines of biology, engineering, physics and mathematics to develop new approaches to biological questions. Foundation chair Peter Gruber noted that Botstein's selection did not present the award committee with the common problem of whether to honor an individual for a lifetime of achievement or someone who demonstrates great promise for the future. "With Professor Botstein, we honor both," the foundation quoted Gruber as saying.

Botstein received his bachelor's degree from Harvard University and doctoral degree from the University of Michigan. He taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1967 to 1988. He then served as vice president for science at the biotechnology company Genentech before joining the faculty at Stanford. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine.

The Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, created by the University in 1999, is developing new approaches to studying and teaching biology now that the enormous task of sequencing the genomes of humans and many other organisms has been completed. The University recently completed construction of a building to house the institute, the Carl Icahn Laboratory, and will hold a formal dedication of the building on May 8.

Contact: Lauren Robinson-Brown (609) 258-3601

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