Bassler earns Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences

Bonnie Bassler, the Squibb Professor in Molecular Biology at Princeton, will receive the eighth annual Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences.

Bassler has been selected for her pioneering investigations into quorum sensing, a mechanism that allows bacteria to "talk" to one another with chemical languages, and to coordinate group behaviors such as causing diseases in humans.

"Quorum sensing can be employed to control the virulence of disease-causing bacteria," said Günter Blobel, chair of the awards jury for the prize, which is presented by the publishing company John Wiley & Sons. Blobel, the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Professor of Cell Biology at Rockefeller University, was awarded the 1999 Nobel Prize in Medicine. He added that "the signal molecules that these bacteria use to communicate, which Dr. Bassler has identified, open the door for developing new classes of antibiotics."

The prize recognizes contributions that have opened new fields of research or have advanced novel concepts or their applications in a particular biomedical discipline. It also honors a specific contribution or series of contributions that demonstrate significant leadership and innovation.

Bassler, who earned her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, joined the Princeton faculty in 1994. She won a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" in 2002. She was chosen in 2005 to be a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, one of the highest honors in biomedical research. In 2006, she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. She currently is serving as director of Princeton's Council on Science and Technology.

The award will be presented to Bassler on April 3 at Rockefeller University in New York.