May 4, 2005
La Jolla, CA – Fred H. “Rusty” Gage, Ph.D., whose basic research at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies has advanced scientific understanding about the potential of the adult brain and nervous system to repair itself, has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a distinction awarded annually to top individuals in business, government, public affairs, the arts and popular culture as well as biomedical research.
Also among this year’s 213 new Fellows are Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, sculptor and painter Jeff Koons, actor and director Sidney Poitier, choreographer Judith Jamison, TV journalist Tom Brokaw, Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and architect Maya Lin.
Gage, previously elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine and honored with the Christopher Reeve Research Medal, said that he was proud to be named an American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow because it is one of the few awards that recognize not just scientists but also artists, actors and other non-scientists.
“While honors such as this are wonderful, they remind me that individual successes are made possible by through creative and supportive, colleagues and family,” added Gage, who co-heads the Salk Institute’s Laboratory of Genetics.
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences selected Gage and the other new Fellows as a result of their preeminent contributions to their disciplines and society at large. On Oct. 8, the honorees will be formally inducted into the Academy at its headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
During his 10 years at the Salk Institute, Gage has made numerous research accomplishments, including the discovery of stem cells in the brains of adult mammals. This finding has provided the hope that brain tissue lost to such devastating disorders as stroke and Alzheimer’s disease might, one day, be replaced. Gage’s lab is now working to understand how these cells can be coaxed to become mature nerve cells. The results may help expedite the development of novel drugs to stimulate nerve cell maturation.