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National Academy of Inventors Names UMass Medical Professor the 2014 Fellow

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

 

Phillip D. Zamore, PhD

UMass Medical Professor Phillip D. Zamore, PhD. has been named the 2014 Fellow by the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) for pioneering the study of RNA silencing. The NAI awarded the distinction of Fellow to 170 esteemed innovators and inventors today -this brings the total number of fellows, representing more than 150 prestigious research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutions, to 414.

The election to NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction given to inventors who have “demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating of facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society. The academic inventors and innovators elected to the rank of NAI Fellow are named inventors on U.S. patents and were nominated by their peers.” 

Zamore, the Gretchen Stone Cook Chair in the Biomedical Sciences and professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and a co-director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute. Zamore is credited with identifying the biochemical machinery responsible for RNA silencing - the mechanism through which small pieces of genetic material can turn specific genes on or off to ensure that targeted genes can be silenced. 

Huntington's Disease

Zamore is using RNAi technologies to help design a therapy for Huntington’s disease, a devastating neurodegenerative disease caused by one defective gene on a single chromosome. amore continues his work combining biochemistry with genetics and cell biology to understand the biological functions and the molecular basis of the RNAi pathway; specifically his team has found that small RNAs— a class that includes small interfering RNAs, microRNAs, and Piwi-interacting RNAs —contain many layers of information that guide the gene-silencing process. The RNA sequence on the molecule specifies not only which gene will be silenced but also how that silencing will occur.

Prior NAI fellows from UMass Medical School include: Craig C. Mello, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Blais University Chair in Molecular Medicine and distinguished professor of molecular medicine and cell and developmental biology; Robert H. Brown Jr., DPhil, MD, the Leo P. and Theresa M. LaChance Chair in Medical Research and chair and professor of neurology; John E. Ware, PhD, professor of quantitative health sciences; and Roger J. Davis, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, H. Arthur Smith Chair in Cancer Research and professor of molecular medicine and biochemistry & molecular pharmacology.

For more information please contact Jim Fessenden of the UMass Medical School at 508-856-2000 or [email protected]. Or Keara Leach of the National Academy of Inventors at 813-974-5862 or [email protected]

About The National Academy of Inventors

The National Academy of Inventors® is a 501(c)(3) non-profit member organization comprised of U.S. and international universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutions, with over 3,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 200 institutions, and growing rapidly. It was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society. The NAI edits the multidisciplinary journal, Technology and Innovation, published by Cognizant Communication Corporation (NY). Please visit their site at www.academyofinventors.org

 

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