Investigator Inder Verma was named the 2009 recipient of the American Society of Gene Therapy's Outstanding Achievement Award in May. The award recognizes an ASGT member who has conducted groundbreaking research or achieved a lifetime of significant scientific contributions to the field of gene therapy.
An American Cancer Society Professor of Molecular Biology in the Salk Institute's Laboratory of Genetics, Verma pioneered the use of stripped-down versions of viruses, HIV in particular, to ferry intact versions of genes that are defective or missing to cells throughout the body. His innovations revolutionized gene therapy, stem cell and cancer research, and other areas of molecular biology.
He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, American Philosophical Society, Third World Academy of Sciences and the recipient of the 2007 Cozzarelli Prize and 2008 Vilcek Prize. Earlier this year, Verma was also named the first incumbent of the Irwin Mark Jacobs Chair in Exemplary Life Sciences. Established to honor its namesake's exceptional leadership in business and philanthropy, the honor is given to an internationally renowned senior Salk scientist who has made extraordinary discoveries in basic biomedical research and has contributed to the direction and vitality of the Institute.