Professor Suzanne Cory awarded 2009 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize

October 22, 2009

Professor Suzanne Cory, the former director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia, has been named the recipient of the 2009 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize.

Professor Cory will receive her prize, created to recognise the accomplishments of outstanding female scientists, at The Rockefeller University in the US on 5 November.

The prize was founded by Rockefeller Nobel laureate Paul Greengard and his wife Ursula von Rydingsvard in honor of Professor Greengard's mother, Pearl Meister Greengard, who died giving birth to him. It has been awarded annually since 2004.

Previous recipients of the prize include 2009 Nobel Prize winners Professor Elizabeth Blackburn and Professor Carol Greider for their work on the enzyme telomerase; and developmental biologist Professor Nicole Marthe Le Douarin, who is renowned for her studies of chimeras.

The 2009 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize was awarded to Professor Cory for her work in cancer and immunogenetics.

Professor Cory has had a career-long scientific partnership with her husband Professor Jerry Adams. In the 1970s, they pioneered recombinant DNA technology in Australia, in order to investigate how immunoglobulin genes encode the antibodies needed to fight infectious agents.

In the 1980s, Professors Cory and Adams switched their attention to the genetic errors that provoke lymphomas and leukaemias. They discovered that the chromosome translocation associated with Burkitt's lymphomas activates an oncogene known as myc, which promotes cell proliferation. With colleagues David Vaux and Andreas Strasser, they later made the surprising discovery that bcl-2, the oncogene activated by chromosome translocation in human follicular lymphoma, stops cells from dying. Their research remains focused on the pathways that control cell death.

Professor Cory said it was a great honour to receive the Pearl Meister Greengard Prize. "I am thrilled be awarded this prize and to be acknowledged alongside women such as Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider and Nicole Le Douarin, for whom I have enormous professional and personal respect," Professor Cory said.

"So many women have made vital contributions to the advancement of scientific knowledge but too often in the past, as in other fields, they have been under-recognised. To have awards such as the Pearl Meister Greengard Prize to recognise their achievements is of enormous significance and provides great encouragement to women to take up a career in science."

Professor Cory was director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for 13 years from 1996 and has recently returned to running a research laboratory in the institute's Molecular Genetics of Cancer Division.
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Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

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