May 2012

For her telomere work, de Lange is first woman to win Heineken Prize for biochem, biophysics


Titia de Lange of Rockefeller University won one of this year’s H.P. Heineken Prizes from the Royal Netherlands Academy for Arts and Sciences. The first woman to receive the $150,000 award for biochemistry and biophysics, de Lange was recognized for having identified the protein complex shelterin on telomeres and showing how shelterin hides the chromosome end from the cellular machinery that detects and repairs broken DNA ends.

Heineken Prizes are awarded biannually to five scientists and one Dutch visual artist for their contributions to science, Dutch art and society.

“Titia’s research on telomeres has had a significant impact on our understanding of how a cell responds when its DNA is damaged,” Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Rockefeller’s president, said in a statement. “Her work has shed light on the causes of human cancer and is a prime example of the importance of basic research in the fight against cancer, and I am greatly pleased to see her recognized with this important prize.”

De Lange’s previous honors include the 2011 Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Science, the 2010 American Association for Cancer Research Clowes Memorial Award, the 2008 Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center Prize and the 2005 National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award.

Photo courtesy Rockefeller University 

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