More than 250 people attended a black tie gala on Feb. 17, 2011, in the Low Library rotunda in honor of the 2010 Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize winners: Thomas J. Kelly, MD, PhD, director, Sloan-Kettering Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; and Bruce Stillman, PhD, president, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Columbia University selected Drs. Kelly and Stillman for their combined work in understanding how genetic material replicates and for their current study of how this process goes wrong when cancer occurs.
“These two investigators, more than any others, are responsible for discovering the key molecular players in and the principles that govern the process of genetic replication,” said Wayne A. Hendrickson, PhD, chair of the Horwitz Prize Committee, University Professor and Violin Family Professor of Physiology & Cellular Biophysics at Columbia University, when announcing the 2010 winners last December. Kelly has been director of the Sloan-Kettering Institute since 2002. Previously, he was a professor at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he and his colleagues did much of his prize-winning research.
Stillman has been president of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory since 2003. He joined Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory as a post-doctoral fellow in 1979 and has been there ever since. In explaining the selection of Drs. Kelly and Stillman by Columbia University, Dr. Lee Goldman, Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences, Columbia University Medical Center, said that both have given science a crucial understanding of genetic duplication of normal cells as well as new insights into processes involved in cancer growth.
The Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize was established under the will of the late S. Gross Horwitz through a bequest to Columbia University. It is named to honor the donor’s mother. Louisa Gross Horwitz was the daughter of Dr. Samuel David Gross (1805-1889), a prominent Philadelphia surgeon. Gross was author of Systems of Surgery and served as president of the American Medical Association. Of the 82 Horwitz Prize winners to date, 42 have gone on to receive Nobel prizes. Each year, since its inception in 1967, the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize has been awarded by Columbia University for outstanding basic research in the fields of biology or biochemistry. The purpose of this award is to honor a scientific investigator, or group of investigators, whose contributions to knowledge in either of these fields are deemed worthy of special recognition.
Photography by Charles Manley