November 8, 2004
La Jolla, CA – Salk Institute for Biological Studies scientist Tony Hunter has been named a member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies of Sciences, Dr. Richard Murphy, Salk Institute President said today.
Dr. Hunter and 65 other new members were elected to the IOM for their major contributions to health and medicine or related fields. He becomes the sixth Salk Institute scientist currently serving as an IOM member. The National Academy elects new members annually to the IOM, which serves both as a think-tank for the nation’s researchers and as an advisory body to the nation on health and health policy.
“I am delighted and honored to be recognized by my peers in this way,” said Hunter. “I look forward to working with the Institute of Medicine on the many health challenges that face our nation.”
Dr. Hunter, an American Cancer Society Professor in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory at the Salk, is best known for his work on how cell growth and division is regulated. Specifically, his research team studies how mutations in genes that regulate growth lead to cancer. His lab has made significant contributions in understanding how signals that stimulate or rein-in growth are routed within a cell.
In 1979, Hunter’s lab discovered that the tiny phosphate ion can be attached to proteins at tyrosine residues. This seminal discovery opened the door to the study of tyrosine kinases and their role in cell growth and development, as well as in cancer and other human diseases. Hunter’s 1979 discovery has ultimately led to the development of a new generation of targeted drugs that block the action of wayward tyrosine kinases, including Gleevec®, a very effective oral treatment for one type of leukemia.
With the latest election, the Institute of Medicine now has 1,416 members, including five other scientists from the Salk Institute, all of whom volunteer their time for IOM studies and consultancy at a national level.
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, located in La Jolla, Calif., is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to fundamental discoveries in the life sciences, the improvement of human health and conditions, and the training of future generations of researchers. Jonas Salk, M.D., founded the institute in 1960 with a gift of land from the City of San Diego and the financial support of the March of Dimes.