Hudson Hoagland Society honors Higgins

27th meeting features talks by Harlan, Bosco

By Mark Shelton

UMass Medical School Communications

May 29, 2012
  From left, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research
Thoru Pederson, PhD, Prentiss C. Higgins and
Chancellor Michael F. Collins at the Hudson Hoagland
Society annual meeting.

The annual meeting of the Hudson Hoagland Society honored longtime Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research (WFBR) board member and benefactor Prentiss C. Higgins at its 27th annual meeting on Wednesday, May 23. The foundation’s Hudson Hoagland Award, given to someone who “has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the advancement of basic science research,” was presented by Chancellor Michael F. Collins.

Higgins’ support of life sciences research in the region spans more than 38 years, including his dedicated participation in the foundation’s Board of Trustees. Enthusiastic support of biomedical research “is a Higgins family tradition,” noted Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Thoru Pederson, PhD, the Vitold Arnett Professor of Cell Biology and the scientific director of the WFBR. “His grandfather Aldus C. Higgins was one of the first trustees of the foundation, serving from 1945 to 1948, and his grandmother Mary served as a trustee from 1950 to 1970.”

Through the WFBR, the Higgins Family established the Higgins Family Professorship in Neuroscience in 2001, which is held by Steven M. Reppert, MD, professor and chair of the department of neurobiology.

The annual meeting featured talks by David M. Harlan, MD, the William and Doris Krupp Professor of Medicine, professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacologyand director of the UMass Memorial Diabetes Center of Excellence, who spoke about advances in care delivery for diabetes; and Daryl Bosco, PhD, assistant professor of neurology and biochemistry & molecular pharmacology, an expert on the mechanisms of Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS.

Dr. Harlan, who said he “lives, eats, sleeps, breathes—and dreams” diabetes, spoke about the use of new technologies to help manage diabetes; Dr. Bosco described innovative research—initially begun under the auspices of a Worcester Foundation grant and now supported by the National Institutes of Health—that studies the interplay of stress with a mutant protein, “FUS,” implicated in ALS.

The Hudson Hoagland Society was founded in 1985 and continues to build upon 27 years of discovery and extraordinary advancements. Named in honor of the co-founder of the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research, the Hudson Hoagland Society’s support of basic scientific research enables UMass Medical School scientists to make advances that have the potential to improve treatments and to speed the discovery of new medicines for countless diseases and afflictions.