US honor for professor Jerry Adams

May 01, 2008

The National Academy of Sciences of the United States has announced that WEHI'S Professor Jerry Adams has been elected a member of this prestigious organization of scientists and engineers. The NAS citation notes that he was elected in recognition of his "distinguished and continuing achievements in original research."

Over his productive career, Adams has had a key role in a range of significant discoveries and scientific innovations, including helping to introduce gene cloning techniques to Australia; clarifying how antibody genes recombine in diverse ways to fight infection; and demonstrating how chromosome aberrations (translocations) provoke tumours.

For the past two decades, Professor Adams' pioneering research has focussed on the control of apoptosis (programmed cell death) and its role in cancer development and cancer therapy. In particular, he and his colleagues have made great advances in clarifying how the Bcl-2 family of proteins normally determine the life and death of cells and how disturbances in their regulation can lead to cancer.

Responding to the news, Professor Adams said, "It is very gratifying to know that so many of our distinguished American colleagues appreciate our contributions to understanding cancer development." He emphasized, "the honour was made possible by the remarkable group of dedicated students and talented colleagues with whom I have worked."

Looking ahead, he said, "The insights we have gained into how cell death is normally regulated give us confidence that the apoptosis machinery can be harnessed to better eliminate cancer cells. We are now attempting to develop drugs that can flip the apoptosis switch, as they offer the prospect of more effective cancer therapy."

Professor Adams is the Joint Head of WEHI's Molecular Genetics of Cancer Division, Director of the US-funded Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Specialized Center of Research, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, a Fellow of the Royal Society and an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow.
-end-


Research Australia

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