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Pierre Chambon awarded Gregory Pincus Medal by UMMS

By Jim Fessenden

UMass Medical School Communications

May 18, 2016
  Pierre Chambon, MD
 

Pierre Chambon, MD

Pierre Chambon, MD, founder of the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cell Biology in Strasbourg, France, and an internationally prominent biomedical researcher, was named the recipient of the Gregory Pincus Medal by UMass Medical School. Dr. Chambon received the award for his discovery of the nuclear receptor superfamily and how these proteins interact with hormones to regulate the genes that control development, homeostasis and metabolism. The Pincus Medal, awarded in the field of endocrinology, was established to honor Gregory F. Pincus, a pioneer in reproductive biology and the co-founder of the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research.

“Pierre Chambon was among the first to couple the molecular biology of gene expression with steroid hormone action,” said Thoru Pederson, PhD, the Vitold Arnett professor of cell biology, professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology, associate vice provost for research and president emeritus of the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research. “He discovered introns in the ovalbumin gene at a time when split genes were still a very new arrival on the scene and he and colleagues subsequently were the first to clone an estrogen-responsive gene. His work in subsequent years has been of the highest order in the field of gene regulation in embryonic development.”

Chambon’s work to dissect the structure and function of nuclear hormone receptors by cloning the estrogen and progesterone receptors led to the discovery of a superfamily of nuclear receptors and to unlocking a universal mechanism of action that links gene expression, transcription, physiology and pathology. This research helped illuminate how nuclear receptors and other proteins integrate hormonal signals to modulate gene expression. His discoveries made over 45 years of biomedical research have revolutionized the fields of development, endocrinology and metabolism, and their related disorders. This has led to new tactics for drug discovery and novel applications in biotechnology and modern medicine.

A member of the French Académie des Sciences, a Foreign Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Chambon has authored hundreds of publications and served on the editorial boards of Cell, and Molecular Cell. He has received numerous international awards for his discoveries, including the 2004 Lasker Basic Medical Research Award and the 2010 Gairdner Award.

The Gregory Pincus Medal awards of the Worcester Foundation were initiated in 1969. Seven of the recipients were or subsequently became Nobel laureates.