Pioneer of hormone action awarded the Gregory Pincus Medal

May 18, 2016

WORCESTER, MA - Pierre Chambon, MD, founder of the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cell Biology in Strasbourg, France, and an internationally prominent biomedical researcher, was named the recipient of the Gregory Pincus Medal by UMass Medical School. Dr. Chambon received the award for his discovery of the nuclear receptor superfamily and how these proteins interact with hormones to regulate the genes that control development, homeostasis and metabolism. The Pincus Medal was established to honor Gregory F. Pincus, a pioneer in reproductive biology and the co-founder of the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research.

"Pierre Chambon was among the first to couple the molecular biology of gene expression with steroid hormone action," said Thoru Pederson, PhD, the Vitold Arnett professor of cell biology, professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology, associate vice provost for research at UMass Medical School and president emeritus of the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research. "He discovered introns in the ovalbumin gene at a time when split genes were still a very new arrival on the scene and he and colleagues subsequently were the first to clone an estrogen-responsive gene. His work in subsequent years has been of the highest order in the field of gene regulation in embryonic development."

Chambon's work to dissect the structure and function of nuclear hormone receptors by cloning the estrogen and progesterone receptors led to the discovery of a superfamily of nuclear receptors and to unlocking a universal mechanism of action that links gene expression, transcription, physiology and pathology. This research helped illuminate how nuclear receptors and other proteins integrate hormonal signals to modulate gene expression. His discoveries made over 45 years of biomedical research have revolutionized the fields of development, endocrinology and metabolism, and their related disorders. This has led to new tactics for drug discovery and novel applications in biotechnology and modern medicine.

A member of the French Académie des Sciences, a Foreign Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Chambon has authored hundreds of publications and served on the editorial boards of Cell, and Molecular Cell. He has received numerous international awards for his discoveries, including the 2004 Lasker Basic Medical Research Award and the 2010 Gairdner Award.

The Gregory Pincus Medal awards of the Worcester Foundation were initiated in 1969. Seven of the recipients were or subsequently became Nobel laureates.
About the University of Massachusetts Medical School

The University of Massachusetts Medical School, one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, has built a reputation as a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research. The Medical School attracts more than $277 million in research funding annually, 80 percent of which comes from federal funding sources. The mission of the Medical School is to advance the health and well-being of the people of the commonwealth and the world through pioneering education, research, public service and health care delivery with its clinical partner, UMass Memorial Health Care. For more information, visit

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