Bristol-Meyers Squibb lauds Yanagisawa's work

Dr. Masashi Yanagisawa, professor of molecular genetics at UT Southwestern who uncovered a protein that plays a key role in high blood pressure, stroke and heart failure, was one of six leading researchers recently honored by Bristol-Myers Squibb, a New York-based pharmaceutical company.

Dr. Yanagisawa's discovery led to his receiving the 13th annual Bristol-Myers Squibb Award in Cardiovascular Research for distinguished achievement in his field. The award includes a $50,000 cash prize and was presented during the "Freedom to Discover" ceremony in mid-October in New York.

"I'm very humbled to join the past recipients of this award in cardiovascular research," Dr. Yanagisawa said. "This honor is even more special to me because the selection committee is so very well-respected and accomplished. This award also is good for the medical center, because without UT Southwestern providing doctors and researchers such as myself with a highly collegiate academic atmosphere, this achievement would not have been possible."

Dr. Yanagisawa, holder of the Patrick E. Haggerty Distinguished Chair in Basic Biomedical Science and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, was recognized for his discovery of endothelins, a class of hormones that affect vascular tone. This research has lead to the development of pharmaceuticals that block the hormones' action and treat congestive heart failure, pulmonary hypertension and other vascular disorders.

Earlier this year, Dr. Yanagisawa was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors attainable by an American scientist. He was recruited in 1991 and mentored by Drs. Michael Brown and Joseph Goldstein, two of UT Southwestern's four Nobel laureates.

Bristol-Myers Squibb annually presents six awards for distinguished achievement to individual researchers, one for each area covered by the Unrestricted Biomedical Research Grants Program.

Other recipients were Dr. Bruce M. Spiegelman of Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for metabolic research; Dr. R. John Collier of Harvard Medical School for infectious disease research; Dr. William A. Catterall of the University of Washington Medical School for neuroscience research; Dr. Robert J. Cousins of the University of Florida for nutrition research; and Dr. Elizabeth H. Blackburn of the University of California, San Francisco, for cancer research.

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Media Contact: Scott Maier
214-648-3404
scott.maier@utsouthwestern.edu

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