Breaking News
April 25, 2019 - Healthy meal kits can boost children’s long-term health
April 25, 2019 - Designing an inexpensive surgical headlight: A Q&A with a Stanford surgeon
April 25, 2019 - States Weigh Banning A Widely Used Pesticide Even Though EPA Won’t
April 25, 2019 - Integrator complex proteins are crucial for healthy brain development in fruit flies, study finds
April 25, 2019 - Measles vaccination rates are a ‘public health time bomb’
April 25, 2019 - Maths made easier for scientists students who shun the subject wins award
April 25, 2019 - Researchers decode how cancer drug works in brains of Parkinson’s disease patients
April 25, 2019 - Smarter Brain Cancer Trial Comes to Columbia
April 25, 2019 - Researchers Seek Sage Advice Of Elders On Aging Issues
April 25, 2019 - New chemical synthesis strategy leads to identification of novel, simpler derivatives
April 25, 2019 - Vanderbilt investigators discover link between vascular biology and eye disease
April 25, 2019 - Feces transplantation is effective and provides economic benefits
April 25, 2019 - Eisenhower Health first in Southern California to offer new lung valve treatment for COPD/emphysema
April 25, 2019 - Johns Hopkins researchers uncover role of neurotransmitter in the spread of aggressive cancers
April 25, 2019 - Porvair Sciences offers highly effective P3 microplate for biological sample clean-up
April 25, 2019 - Air pollution increases risk for respiratory hospitalization among childhood cancer survivors
April 25, 2019 - We are sitting more! How bad is that?
April 25, 2019 - Majority of stroke survivors not screened for osteoporosis, despite increased risk
April 25, 2019 - ADHD Screening: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
April 25, 2019 - Cellular alterations increase vulnerability of obese and diabetic individuals to infection
April 25, 2019 - Association Insurance Pushes On Despite Court Ruling
April 25, 2019 - Traditional and e-cigarette users may be more receptive to smoking cessation interventions
April 25, 2019 - Delving into tumor’s cellular lineage may offer clues for customized therapies
April 25, 2019 - Two studies uncover brain mechanisms underlying decision making process
April 25, 2019 - Cardiometabolic Risk Better ID’d in Children Reclassified to Higher BP
April 25, 2019 - How the obesity epidemic is taking a toll on our bones and joints
April 25, 2019 - E-cigarettes contaminated with dangerous microbial toxins
April 25, 2019 - Researchers document specific characteristics of storefront tobacco advertisements
April 25, 2019 - Oncotype DX-guided treatment could reduce cost for breast cancer care, study suggests
April 25, 2019 - Predicting whether a patient will benefit from chemotherapy
April 25, 2019 - New review highlights how lifestyle affects our genes
April 25, 2019 - Study provides evidence that blood tests can detect Alzheimer’s risk
April 25, 2019 - Computer program mimics natural speech using brain signals from epilepsy patients
April 25, 2019 - Physicians turning to antibiotic alternatives for long-term acne treatment
April 25, 2019 - Preschool Is Prime Time to Teach Healthy Lifestyle Habits
April 25, 2019 - Study finds insidious and persistent discrimination among physician mothers
April 25, 2019 - Newly identified skin-gut communication helps illuminate link between food allergy and eczema
April 25, 2019 - Thiazide use linked with reduced risk of low energy fractures in people with Alzheimer’s
April 25, 2019 - Some women are biologically more resilient than others to PTSD
April 25, 2019 - The Current issue of “The view from here” is concerned with Partnerships and Alliances
April 25, 2019 - Imaging method reveals long-lived patterns in cells of the eye
April 25, 2019 - Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ The Abortion Wars Rage On
April 25, 2019 - Prolonged exposure therapy is more effective in treating veterans with PTSD, alcohol use disorder
April 24, 2019 - Our artificial cornea breakthrough could lead to self-assembling organs
April 24, 2019 - A Stanford black, female, gay surgery resident speaks out
April 24, 2019 - Donna Lynne on Extreme Sports, Lessons From the '60s, and Taking CUIMC to the Next Level
April 24, 2019 - Pain Clinics’ Doctors Needlessly Tested Hundreds Of Urine Samples, Court Records Show
April 24, 2019 - Researchers uncover potential clue to halt destruction of nerve cells in people with ALS
April 24, 2019 - Study uncovers reasons for poor mental health in bisexual people
April 24, 2019 - Screenings, interventions, and referrals can help adolescents overcome substance abuse
April 24, 2019 - Febrile seizures following vaccination are self-resolving and not dangerous
April 24, 2019 - Flow-UV inline UV-Visible spectrometer monitors dispersion in real time
April 24, 2019 - Rates of Marijuana Use in Cancer Patients on the Rise in U.S.
April 24, 2019 - Versatile drug may protect baby from hazards of intraamniotic infections
April 24, 2019 - Financial transparency may diminish trust in doctors, new study finds
April 24, 2019 - Calling all Riders: Velocity Extends Free Registration 
April 24, 2019 - The Homeless Are Dying In Record Numbers On The Streets Of L.A.
April 24, 2019 - Researchers use brain scans to provide better understanding of unconscious bias
April 24, 2019 - Blocking BRAF ubiquitination may be an effective treatment approach in melanoma
April 24, 2019 - Simple mobility test helps predict hospital readmission in elderly heart attack patients
April 24, 2019 - Novel fluorescence imaging system helps surgeons remove small ovarian tumors
April 24, 2019 - Uncovering the Structure of HIV Integrase to Inform Drug Discovery
April 24, 2019 - Medical Marijuana Use Rising Among Cancer Patients
April 24, 2019 - Artificial intelligence approach optimizes embryo selection for IVF
April 24, 2019 - Doctor or detective? Sleuthing mysteries in medical school
April 24, 2019 - CUIMC Community Gives Blood During Spring 2019 Columbia University Blood Drive
April 24, 2019 - Americans Overwhelmingly Want Federal Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills
April 24, 2019 - Making Laboratories More Efficient with the Most Modern LIMS on the Market
April 24, 2019 - Treating cancer patients with personalized, combination therapies improves outcomes
April 24, 2019 - Researchers engineer new molecules to help stop lung cancer
April 24, 2019 - Acupuncture can be a wonderful tool for preventing number of diseases
April 24, 2019 - Daily life disability before hip replacement may predict poor post-operative outcomes
April 24, 2019 - Study finds involuntary staying in housing estates to be a potential health risk
April 24, 2019 - Older kidney disease patients starting dialysis die at higher rates than previously thought
April 24, 2019 - Time-restricted eating shows promise for controlling blood glucose levels
April 24, 2019 - Ambiguous genitalia in newborns may be more common than previously thought
April 24, 2019 - Research provides important insight on the brain-body connection
April 24, 2019 - In 10 Years, Half Of Middle-Income Elders Won’t Be Able To Afford Housing, Medical Care
April 24, 2019 - Researchers study how E. coli clones have become major cause of drug-resistant infections
April 24, 2019 - Bacterial and fungal toxins found in popular electronic cigarettes
Columbia University announces winners of 2018 Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize

Columbia University announces winners of 2018 Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Columbia University has decided to award the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize 2018 to:

Pierre Chambon

Institute of Advanced Study at the Strasbourg University and Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire (IGBMC), Strasbourg, France

Ronald M. Evans

Salk Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, MD, USA and

Bert W. O’Malley

Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA

“for their discoveries of how steroid hormones regulate the behavior of distant cells.”

Horwitz Prize Awarded for Work on Hormones

If you open up your medicine cabinet, it’s a safe bet that you’ll find a drug that targets a nuclear hormone receptor. Columbia University awards the 2018 Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize to Pierre Chambon, Ronald M. Evans, and Bert W. O’Malley for their research–spanning over 50 years–decoding how steroid hormones and nuclear receptors regulate cell function. This work has transformed our understanding of human physiology and disease.

Steroid hormones like cortisol and estrogens were first identified in the early 1900s. Researchers observed that these chemicals could travel long distances from one organ to another, and that they influenced a wide variety of biological processes including development, reproduction, growth, metabolism, and inflammation. But just how hormones worked remained a mystery for decades.

When molecular biology techniques became available in the 1960s, scientists could finally begin to more precisely probe at the mechanism by which hormones act. Using these tools, O’Malley’s laboratory demonstrated that steroid hormones modify gene expression. This was a paradigm shift, because until then many researchers thought that hormones worked by directly interacting with enzymes or manipulating the cell membrane. In a series of papers published between 1967 and 1972, O’Malley’s team showed that steroid hormones enter the cell and bind to nuclear receptors, a specialized protein that enters the nucleus and modifies gene activity. This tinkering of gene expression triggers biological changes in the cell and physiological changes in the body.

In the 1980s, scientists built on this work and isolated the genes that code for steroid hormone receptors. Teams led by Chambon and Evans were the first to discover and clone the genes for estrogen and cortisol receptors, respectively. Previously, researchers had predicted that the number of nuclear receptors would be small. But one of the big surprises that came from comparing the sequences of these nuclear receptors was that there were dozens of similar genes.

The laboratories of Chambon and Evans, in conjunction with others, proceeded to identify and isolate many of these related genes, mapping out a “superfamily” of 48 human nuclear receptors that collectively regulate a wide array of biological processes. Some of the genes they discovered had no hormone associated with them, and so were named “orphan receptors.” This work opened up a new field of biology, and showed that a variety of molecules–not just steroid hormones, but thyroid hormones, bile acids, fatty acids, and others–could also bind to nuclear receptors to regulate the gene expression of cells over great distances in the body.

Following these seminal discoveries, subsequent work by all three scientists has continued to add important details to the molecule-by-molecule picture of how the 10 trillion cells in our body communicate with each other and stay in functional harmony. Unravelling these mysteries has given us deeper insight into the pathways that lead to a variety of human diseases. Today, drugs targeting nuclear receptors comprise 13 percent of all U.S. FDA-approved pharmaceuticals. These drugs treat everything from the most commonplace to the most serious conditions–including over-the-counter topical cortisone for skin inflammation, prescription rosiglitazone for type II diabetes, and tamoxifen, the most widely used cancer drug in the world.

Our ability to treat such a diverse array of diseases began with scientists who connected the dots between hormone, receptor, and gene.

Comments from Committee Chair

Gerard Karsenty, MD, PhD, chair of the Horwitz Prize Committee and chair of the Department of Genetics and Development at Columbia University Irving Medical Center: “Nuclear receptors are a Rosetta Stone for physiology; their discovery and characterization helped solved mysteries about many of our most fundamental biological processes that were first unearthed nearly a century ago. The work of

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles