Rosbash, Hall and Young awarded Shaw Prize
Hong Kong-based foundation cites positive, profound impact of their work
The 2013 Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine has been awarded to Brandeis biology professors Michael Rosbash and Jeffrey Hall and their colleague Michael Young of Rockefeller University for their discovery of the molecular mechanisms governing circadian rhythms.
The researchers will share a $1 million prize to be awarded by the Shaw Foundation at a ceremony in September in Hong Kong.
The prize is the latest in a series of major awards to Rosbash, Hall and Young for discoveries that could ultimately lead to the development of drugs to treat sleep disorders, physical and mental illness and jet lag.
In January, they won the Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences.
Established under the auspices of Run Run Shaw, a philanthropist who made billions in Hong Kong movie and television enterprises, the Shaw Prize honors individuals who have achieved significant breakthroughs in academic and scientific research or applications, and whose work has resulted in a positive and profound impact on humankind. Shaw also founded the Sir Run Run Shaw Charitable Trust and the Shaw Foundation Hong Kong, both dedicated to promoting education, scientific and technological research, medical and welfare services and culture and the arts.
Rosbash and Hall spent more than three decades at Brandeis collaboratively researching circadian rhythms, the biological clock which governs functions such as sleep and wakefulness, metabolism and hormone levels in organisms as simple as fruit flies and as complex as humans.
Their research uses the fruit fly Drosophila, a model organism valued for its relative genetic simplicity and wide range of behaviors. At the molecular level, circadian rhythms use the same genes and are regulated in much the same way in all animals, including humans.