Yale School Of Medicine's Richard Lifton Awarded Wiley Prize
Lifton, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and Sterling Professor and chair of genetics, identified 10 genes that cause very high blood pressure and 10 genes that cause very low blood pressure. He also found that these genes are involved in the regulation of salt balance by the kidney.
"Dr. Lifton's findings highlight the importance of dietary salt in the causation of hypertension, a major risk factor in cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death worldwide," said Günter Blobel, M.D., chair of the awards jury.
Robert Alpern, M.D., dean of Yale School of Medicine, said, "Lifton's research has demonstrated unequivocally the importance of renal salt handling in the regulation of blood pressure. While hypertension can be due to over constriction of blood vessels or abnormal salt handling by the kidney, Lifton has found in multiple genetic causes of high and low blood pressure that the etiology resides in the kidney. These findings have settled a controversy that persisted for much of the 20th century."
Lifton joins a distinguished roster of past Wiley Award recipients, among them Nobel Prize-winning scientists Andrew Fire, Craig Mello, and Robert Horvitz. Last year Arthur Horwich, M.D., also of Yale School of Medicine, and F. Ulrich Hartl, director at the Max-Planck Institute of Biochemistry, were jointly awarded the Wiley prize for detailing the molecular machinery that guides proteins into their proper functional shape, work that is important in research on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.
The Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences was established in 2001 by John Wiley & Sons, a 200-year old publisher of scientific, technical, and medical books and online services. The award recognizes contributions that have opened new fields of research or have advanced novel concepts or their applications in a particular biomedical discipline. It honors a specific contribution or a series of contributions that demonstrate significant leadership and innovation. The award includes a $35,000 grant.
The award will be presented to Lifton April 4 at The Rockefeller University in New York City.