Geneticist and inventor Steven Henikoff named AAAS Fellow

November 30, 2012

SEATTLE - Steven Henikoff, Ph.D., a geneticist, biologist and inventor at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, has been named a 2012 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, or AAAS. Election as a Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

Henikoff, a member of the Hutchinson Center's Basic Sciences Division, is being honored for "distinguished contributions to chromatin biology, centromere structure, nucleosome stability and plant epigenetics, which have had widespread influence in several fields."

"Steve is a true innovator. He's developed methods for analyzing DNA sequences and chromatin that have profoundly influenced work here at the Hutchinson Center and in laboratories around the world," said Jonathan Cooper, Ph.D., director of the Basic Sciences Division. "What's more, he had the courage to invest time and effort on some rather obscure patterns of inheritance that defy Mendel's laws of heredity. As a result, he has discovered new ways that genes are regulated in human and animal cells. He's a valued colleague and a wonderful mentor."

Henikoff's research has long focused on epigenetics - investigating how patterns of gene activity can change and then propagate through generations without any corresponding change in DNA sequence. He uses fruit flies and plants to study these heritable changes, which are reversible. This suggests the possibility that some aspects of cancer may also be reversed.

He also is the inventor of widely used computer programs and other research tools that have fostered breakthroughs in many areas of medicine. His inventions, which include databases for making sense of DNA sequence information, have been indispensable to biologists from all disciplines, from those who study metabolic pathways in yeast to researchers who seek clues to the origins of cancer.

Henikoff studies some of the oldest problems in chromosome research using innovative strategies designed in his own laboratory. He is credited with helping build the infrastructure for analyzing the human genome and was among the first to realize that computing and the Internet had the power to revolutionize the way biological research is done.

Other honors Henikoff has received include election to the National Academy of Sciences, the highest honor for a U.S. scientist.

Henikoff, who is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and an affiliate professor of Genome Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine, is among 702 AAAS Fellows selected this year for their "scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications."

For their contributions they will be presented with an official certificate and gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin Feb. 16 at the Fellows Forum during the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston.
-end-
Other AAAS Fellows from the Hutchinson Center's Basic Sciences Division include: Roger Brent, Ph.D.; Nobel laureate Linda Buck, Ph.D.; Robert Eisenman, Ph.D.; Mark T. Groudine, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president and deputy director of the Hutchinson Center; Maxine L. Linial, Ph.D.; Paul Neiman, Ph.D. and Gerald Smith, Ph.D.

Others include Denise Galloway, Ph.D., of the Human Biology and Public Health Sciences divisions; M. Elizabeth Halloran, M.D., M.P.H., of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division; John Potter, M.D., Ph.D., former head of the Center's Public Health Sciences Division; and Meng-Chao Yao, Ph.D., formerly of the Center's Basic Sciences Division who is now head of the Institute of Molecular Biology, Academia Sinica, in Taipei, Taiwan.

The AAAS is the world's largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. The organization was founded in 1848 and the tradition of electing AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Note for media only: A photo of Henikoff is available upon request.

About Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch's pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer with minimal side effects. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation's first and largest cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women's Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network. Private contributions are essential for enabling Fred Hutch scientists to explore novel research opportunities that lead to important medical breakthroughs. For more information visit www.fhcrc.org or follow Fred Hutch on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

About the American Association for the Advancement of Science

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science as well as Science Translational Medicine and Science Signaling. AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The non-profit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.