Thoru Pederson honored with Award for Distinguished Service from American Society for Cell Biology

ASCB recognizes Deborah Harmon Hines for excellence in science education

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

December 14, 2015
  Thoru Pederson, PhD, accepted the American Society of Cell Biology’s Distinguished Service Award from ASCB President Shirley Tilghman, PhD, at the ASCB 2015 annual meeting. (ASCB Photo by Jesse Karras)
 

Thoru Pederson, PhD, accepted the American Society of Cell Biology’s Distinguished Service Award from ASCB President Shirley Tilghman, PhD, at the ASCB 2015 annual meeting.

(ASCB Photo by Jesse Karras)

Marking his decades of service to the American Society for Cell Biology, Thoru Pederson, PhD, was named the recipient of the society’s Award for Distinguished Service. He accepted the award on Saturday, Dec. 12, at the ASCB annual meeting in San Diego, becoming just the second recipient of the award since it was introduced in 2012.

“To receive this rarely given special award is very moving and I am deeply touched,” said Dr. Pederson, the Vitold Arnett professor of cell biology and professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology. “This is my 50th year as an ASCB member, making it especially meaningful.”

Pederson is an internationally acclaimed scientist whose laboratory is investigating the live cell dynamics of CRISPR gene-editing machinery as well as its potential applications to the neurodegenerative diseases myotonic dystrophy and ALS. He was scientific director of the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research when it merged with UMass Medical School in 1997. The recipient of numerous awards and an editorial board member for The FASEB Journal, Journal of Cell Biology and Molecular Biology of the Cell, Pederson is the editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal. In 2015, he was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Service at UMass Medical School’s annual Convocation proceedings.

Since joining in 1966, Pederson has served ASCB in numerous capacities, including a six-year stint as treasurer. He is currently chairing the search committee for the society’s next executive director. 

And since 2004, the prolific essayist in non-scientific as well as scientific realms has weighed in on thorny professional challenges as the pseudonymous author of “Dear Labby,” the long-running and extremely popular career advice column in the ASCB Newsletter. His identify was revealed during the award ceremony.  

"Few people possess the breadth of experience, the insightfulness and the wisdom to offer advice on such a wide range of topics, or the generosity to labor anonymously for so long,” said ASCB President Shirley Tilghman, PhD, professor of molecular biology and president emerita of Princeton University.

Also honored at the ASCB annual meeting was Deborah Harmon Hines, PhD. Dr. Hines, professor of cell & developmental biology and vice provost for school services at UMMS, received the 2015 Bruce Alberts Award for Excellence in Science Education. The Alberts Award is the society’s highest honor bestowed annually.

Related links on UMassMedNow:
Pederson named editor-in-chief of FASEB Journal
Building a genomic GPS with CRISPR
Newsmaker: What good is basic research?
Harmon Hines named recipient of Bruce Alberts Award for Excellence in Science Education

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