Murphy wins prestigious Pew Scholarship

July 3, 2006, 11:03 a.m.

Murphy wins prestigious Pew Scholarship

Coleen Murphy has been named a 2006 Pew Scholar, one of only 15 scientists in the nation to earn the yearly award. Murphy, an assistant professor of molecular biology since 2005, will receive $240,000 in research funding over the next four years.

The competitive scholarships, awarded to early- to mid-career scientists, are noted for allowing recipients great flexibility in choosing their research agenda. Murphy, who is interested in the genetic aspects of aging, said she intends to continue her attempts to identify the genes that provide the basis for long, high-quality lives.

"As humans age, we decline physiologically in many different ways. We are interested not only in extending lifespan, but also in maintaining and improving our health," Murphy said. "My lab will focus on biological functions that become impaired with age, so that we might one day be able to counter these processes. Discovering the genes that are critical for maintaining our neurons, for example, will likely be important in the treatment of age-associated disorders such as Alzheimer's disease."

The Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences program, launched in 1985, has invested more than $100 million to fund nearly 400 scholars. Previous recipients have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in chemistry, the MacArthur Award and the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award. The program is supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the University of California-San Francisco.