Massagué’s research has elucidated fundamental processes that control cell division and identified genes playing a key role in tumor generation and metastasis. This is work “with great potential for clinical application”, in the words of the jury chaired by Nobel laureate in Physiology and Medicine, Torsten Wiesel.
The awards, organized in partnership with Spain’s National Research Council (CSIC), take in eight categories carrying a cash prize of 400,000 euros each. The Biomedicine award, the third to be decided, is to honor contributions which significantly advance the stock of knowledge in this area for reasons of their importance and originality.
On the merits that earned him this award, he explains: “In a field as wide as Biomedicine, the fact that the jury has singled out my work is an encouragement to my group and to other researchers in oncology. We are striving to move forward the frontiers of oncology, starting from the study of very basic aspects like cell biology and behavior, that are perhaps abstruse for most people, in order to address others as concrete as metastasis, so that what yesterday seemed impossible is today a tentative promise and may in a few years’ time become a solution”.
Joan Massagué is Chairman of the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program at the Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York, where he has pursued most of his scientific career. He is also a researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Adjunct Director of the Institute for Biomedical Research (IRB Barcelona). He has more than 340 publications to his name in leading scientific journals, which have been cited more than 62,000 times.
Joan Massagué’s research stands out for the identification and characterization of the TGF-beta protein (transforming growth factor beta). This protein belongs to a large family of factors that regulate the cell division process. It is essential for the organism’s normal development but is also implicated in disease processes such as malformations and cancer.
Great potential for clinical application
The jury’s citation reads as follows: “The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Biomedicine corresponding to the year 2008 has been conferred upon Dr. Joan Massagué for elucidating one of the fundamental processes that control cell division, namely, the machinery that conveys the growth inhibitory signal of TGF-beta from the cell membrane to the nucleus. Many of the components of this signaling transduction pathway have been identified and functionally characterized by Dr. Massagué. The TGF-beta pathway is crucial for the development of all animals, and when disrupted, contributes to diseases such as cancer. Massagué and colleagues have also developed novel approaches to identify genes involved in organ-specific metastasis. These studies have considerably increased the understanding of metastasis and have great potential for clinical application, given that 90 percent of cancer-related deaths are due to this invasive process”.
The jury in this inaugural edition of the Frontiers of Knowledge Awards, Biomedicine category, was chaired by Torsten Wiesel, Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine, and formed by Angelika Schnieke, Technical University of Munich (Germany), an expert on cloning and second author of the ‘Dolly’ paper; Bruce Whitelaw, a leading expert in transgenic animals, Roslin Institute (United Kingdom); Dario Alessi of the Scottish Institute for Cell Signalling (United Kingdom); Robin Lovell-Badge, of the National Institute for Medical Research (United Kingdom); Josep Baselga, oncologist in the Research Institute of Vall d’Hebron Hospital, Barcelona; and Juan Modolell, Severo Ochoa Molecular Biology Center, Madrid, holder of the ‘Santiago Ramón y Cajal’ National Research Prize in Biology.
Biomedicine is the third award to be decided in this first edition of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards. The Climate Change award was granted to U.S. scientist Wallace S. Broecker, who predicted climate warming due to human activity three decades ago. The award in the Development Cooperation went to the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The BBVA Foundation supports knowledge generation, scientific research and the promotion of culture, relaying the results of its work to society at large. This effort materializes in research projects, human capital investment, specialization courses, grants and awards. Among the Foundation’s preferred areas of activity are basic sciences, biomedicine, ecology and conservation biology, the social sciences and literary and musical creation.
Javier Fernández | alfa
Eduard Arzt receives highest award from German Materials Society
21.09.2017 | INM - Leibniz-Institut für Neue Materialien gGmbH
Six German-Russian Research Groups Receive Three Years of Funding
12.09.2017 | Hermann von Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy