Scientists Craig Crews and Raymond Deshaies selected for Gabbay Award

Craig Crews and Raymond Deshaies

Raymond Deshaies and Craig Crews

Scientists Craig Crews and Raymond Deshaies have been honored with the 25th Jacob and Louise Gabbay Award for their pioneering work, which has opened new horizons for therapeutic interventions against cancer and other diseases.

Crews and Deshaies are trailblazers in the field of targeted protein degradation, spearheading the development of PROTACs—a revolutionary approach. Their groundbreaking research has expanded the understanding of cellular processes and opened the potential to develop innovative therapies for a broad spectrum of ailments, including cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, and autoimmune conditions.

"The remarkable insights of Craig Crews and Raymond Deshaies have revealed how to exploit the cell’s degradation machinery, providing a new avenue for eradicating proteins considered undruggable " said Lizbeth Hedstrom, professor of biology and chemistry at Brandeis, and chair of the Gabbay Award committee. "The Gabbay Award fittingly recognizes their extraordinary impact on the scientific community."

Crews and Deshaies began their collaboration in 1998, when they met at a Burroughs-Wellcome Foundation retreat where they were both recipients of a junior faculty award in the basic pharmacological sciences. It was during this retreat that they conceived the idea for PROTACs. Their research was initially published in a 2001 paper in the Proceedings of  the National Academy of Sciences.

PROTACs employ bifunctional molecules to redirect the cellular machinery responsible for protein degradation towards specific disease-causing proteins. While one part of the molecule binds to the target protein, the other recruits the cell's protein degradation machinery, thereby effectively marking the target protein for degradation.

Crews is currently a professor of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology at Yale University, and has served as executive director at the Yale Center for Molecular Discovery since 2003. Deshaies is currently the senior vice president of global research at Amgen, Inc., and serves as a visiting associate at the California Institute of Technology, where he was previously a professor of biology. 

The Gabbay Award is given annually to scientists whose work exhibits outstanding scientific content and significant practical applications in the biomedical sciences. It consists of a $15,000 cash prize and a medallion. 

Established in 1998 as the Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award in Biotechnology and Medicine, it was renamed the Jacob and Louise Gabbay Award in Biotechnology and Medicine in 2016 to honor the instrumental role of Louise Gabbay in its founding. The award is administered by Brandeis University.

Crews and Deshaies will visit campus on October 25th to formally accept the award and deliver a lecture.

Categories: Research, Science and Technology

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