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Inder Verma Receives Spector Prize, Gates Foundation Grant

Inder Verma, a professor in the Laboratory of Genetics and the Irwin Mark Jacobs Chair in Exemplary Life Science, will receive the 2010 Spector Prize in honor of his work in developing an HIV-based vector for use in gene therapy.

Awarded by the department of Ophthalmology at Columbia University and co-sponsored this year by the department of Genetics, the prize recognizes the contributions of Abraham Spector, the Malcolm P. Aldrich Emeritus Research Professor who was a leading figure in eye research.

Verma is the third recipient of the prize, which is intended to honor outstanding basic research that has made fundamental contributions to elucidating cell biology and that provides the basis for designing approaches for controlling and curing disease.

In related news, Verma was among a group of researchers who received a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in October to develop a mouse model of human malaria. The model will serve as a new tool for evaluating strategies to fight the disease, including testing critically needed new anti-malarial drugs and vaccines as well as testing for long-term toxicity of anti-malarial therapies.