Brent and Eisenman named AAAS fellows

Basic scientists honored for outstanding contributions in biochemistry, transcription, genomics and systems biology, and pathbreaking studies in the field of oncogenes
Dr. Roger Brent and Dr. Robert Eisenman
Dr. Roger Brent (left) uses single cells as model systems—focusing on how cell signaling pathways represent and transmit information. Dr. Robert Eisenman is a leader in the field of oncogenes—aberrantly regulated genes that cause cancer. Photos by Dean Forbes

Systems biologist Dr. Roger Brent and molecular biologist Dr. Robert Eisenman, both of the Basic Sciences Division, have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Election as a fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

Brent’s interdisciplinary studies, achievements

Brent’s honor acknowledges “outstanding contributions in the area of biochemistry, transcription, genomics and systems biology.”

Brent’s highly interdisciplinary studies use single cells as model systems and focus on how cell signaling pathways represent and transmit information. This work may have particular relevance to cancer, since abnormal signaling plays a role in cancer development. His research draws on molecular biological methods, genetics and computational biology, and has led to the development of a number of innovative technologies for understanding quantitative cell behavior that have utility for addressing wider biological problems.

Before joining the Hutchinson Center faculty in 2010, Brent was director and research director of the Molecular Sciences Institute in Berkeley, Calif.

In addition to his academic work, Brent has been a longtime adviser to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. He is the inventor of 12 issued patents and several pending patents. He also advises various U.S. federal agencies—including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency—on functional genomics and computational biology. His other honors include the 2003 Gabbay Award in Biotechnology and Medicine for his work on protein interactions.

Eisenman: A leader in oncogenes

Eisenman, a member of the Center’s faculty since 1976, is being recognized “for his pathbreaking studies on the role of oncogenes in the transcriptional regulation of cell growth and proliferation.”

He is a leader in the field of oncogenes—aberrantly regulated genes that cause cancer. His studies on a gene known as myc are seminal to scientists' understanding of how normal cells progress to cancer cells. Eisenman's work has paved the way for the discoveries of other oncogenes that work by interacting with DNA.

Eisenman’s other honors include being an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the recipient of the Kirk A. Landon Prize for Basic Cancer Research from the American Association of Cancer Research. He is also an American Cancer Society research professor.

Center now has 11 AAAS fellows

Other AAAS fellows from the Center include Drs. Linda Buck, Mark Groudine, Elizabeth Halloran, Maxine Linial, Paul Neiman, Gerald Smith, Denise Galloway, John Potter and Meng-Chao Yao (now head of Taiwan’s Institute of Molecular Biology).

The AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. The organization began in 1848; the tradition of electing AAAS fellows began in 1874.

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