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Ernst Schering Prize 2011

Prof. Bert W. O'Malley

On September 20, 2011, the Ernst Schering Foundation in Berlin will award the 2011 Ernst Schering Prize for international excellence in basic medical, biological, and chemical research to Professor Bert W. O’Malley, the Tom Thompson Distinguished Service Professor and Chair of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, for his pioneering work on the actions of steroid hormones and nuclear receptors.

Professor O’Malley will receive the award, which carries a prize of €50,000, for his outstanding achievements in the area of gene regulation, steroid receptors, and transcriptional coactivators. Furthermore, he will be honored for his contributions to the concept of “team science,” as he has graduated over 250 students and postdoctoral fellows, who now serve as professors, chief executive officers, and deans of their own institutions around the world.

O’Malley’s Research on Hormone Action and Gene Expression

Professor O’Malley’s laboratory has been a leader in uncovering the mode of action of the female sex steroids (progesterone and estrogen) and in determining the fundamental mechanisms for regulation of eukaryotic gene expression. By virtue of O’Malley’s pioneering work, we now understand that the primary actions of sex steroid hormones and nuclear receptors occur at the level of gene transcription to regulate synthesis of messenger RNAs. He described the pathways of molecular events that lead from hormones to genes to proteins, then went on to discover the “missing link regulators” (coactivators/corepressors) that decipher the transcriptional instructions of the receptors. Coactivators function as “master regulators” for physiology and disease and have immense influence on tissue development and physiology. They activate subfamilies of genes which coordinately regulate growth and metabolism. The role of coactivators for metabolic genes is expanding greatly, indicating control of carbohydrate, lipid, and protein metabolism. Dysfunctions in the coactivators (or corepressors) lead to serious consequences. Such inherited dysfunction has been demonstrated to be causal in reproductive tissue differentiation, embryonic lethality and growth retardation, mental retardation, metabolic regulation, and numerous cancers. This work also led to our molecular understanding of how hormonal antagonists work and has had major importance to the fields of endocrinology, reproduction, genetic disease, and endocrine cancers of the breast and prostate.

For further information about the scietific work and biography of the prize winner please read our press release.

Important Dates

Press conference with the prize winner

September 20, 2011, at 11 a.m.
Ernst Schering Foundation | Unter den Linden 32-34 | 10117 Berlin | Germany

Award Ceremony “Ernst Schering Prize 2011”

September 20, 2011, at 6 p.m.
in Berlin, by invitation only

Presentations of the prize winner

September 21, 2011, at 10 a.m.
Lecture to High School Students in Berlin-Tegel (non-public event)
"A Scientist's Quest to Understand How Hormones Work"

September 21, 2011, at 6 p.m.
Public Lecture for Scientists and Students
in Cooperation with the Graduate College 1208 at Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
"Receptor Coactivators: 'Masters' of Physiology and Pathology"

Robert-Koch-Forum, Lecture Hall
Dorotheenstr. 96 | 10117 Berlin

The lecture will be in English. Registration is not necessary.

Photo: Bert O'Malley, Baylor College of Medicine

Bert O'Malley

pdf Curriculum Vitae


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