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NIEHS Distinguished Lecturers Honored

By Eddy Ball
October 2008

National Medal of Science
A top honor for two NIEHS distinguished lecturers. (Photo courtesy of the National Science Foundation)

Robert Lefkowitz
National Medal of Science Laureate Robert Lefkowitz. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

O'Malley
Nation Medal of Science Laureate Bert O'Malley. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

On September 29 during an award ceremony at the White House, Duke University investigator Robert Lefkowitz, M.D., and Baylor College of Medicine researcher Bert O'Malley, M.D., received the 2007 National Medal of Science in the biological sciences, the nation's highest award for science and engineering. Lefkowitz spoke at the 2008 Rodbell Lecture (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2008/june/hhmi.cfm) at NIEHS on May 5, and O'Malley delivered the May 2007 Distinguished Lecture, as reported in the June 2007 (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2007/june/science-distinguished.cfm) issue of the Environmental Factor.

Lefkowitz and O'Malley were among eight scientists in the biological sciences, chemistry, engineering and physical sciences who were honored for what the National Science Foundation (NSF), which administers the award (http://www.nsf.gov/od/nms/medal.jsp) Exit NIEHS, describes as "pioneering scientific research that has led to a better understanding of the world around us as well as to innovations and technologies that give the United States its global economic edge."

Lefkowitz (http://www.biochem.duke.edu/faculty/robert-lefkowitz) Exit NIEHS is the James B. Duke Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry at Duke University Medical School and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). He was honored for his research into understanding the largest, most important and most therapeutically accessible receptor system that controls the body's response to drugs and hormones.

O'Malley (http://www.bcm.edu/cmb/?pmid=2375) Exit NIEHS is a professor and chairman of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the Baylor College of Medicine. The Medal of Science recognizes his work on the molecular mechanisms of steroid hormone action and hormone receptors and coactivators, which has had a profound impact on our knowledge of steroid hormones in normal development and in diseases.

Since its establishment by Congress in 1959, the nation has honored 441 distinguished scientists and engineers with the medal. The NSF is currently accepting nominations through December 5, 2008 for the 2009 National Medal of Science, which will be awarded next fall.



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