June 15, 2003
La Jolla, CA – Professor Ronald Evans, the March of Dimes Chair in Molecular and Developmental Biology, has received the 2003 March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology for his pioneering the molecular pathways that lead to the most common chronic diseases affecting humans. He has also been awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Prize, one of three awards given annually by the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation.
The March of Dimes Prize is given every year to scientists whose research has profoundly advanced understanding of birth defects. The Sloan Prize is given for the most outstanding recent contribution in basic science related to cancer research.
Evans shares both prizes with Pierre Chambon, MD, director of the Institute for Genetics and Cellular and Molecular Biology in Strasbourg, France for their work in discovering nuclear hormone receptors, revealing their structure and function, and defining their central role in human physiology.
“This is a great honor for me, and I’m particularly grateful to the March of Dimes and General Motors for their continued support of my work,” Evans said. “These prizes will further advance the progress of our efforts to understand how obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer begin, and I believe will one day provide us with a successful treatment for these deadly disorders.”
Evans joins a list of notable scientists who have been awarded the prize since the March of Dimes began the program in 1996, including the Salk Institute’s Sydney Brenner, who received the prize last year. The March of Dimes created the prize as a tribute to Dr. Jonas Salk.
Evans has been cited for opening new areas of study in the machinery of hormones and cellular physiology. His work shows that these seemingly divergent aspects of physiology in the body employ a similar molecular logic to achieve their control. His research also suggests specific ways chemistry can be employed in the development of approved drugs such as Targretin and Panretin, used to fight certain cancers and exploratory therapeutics for pediatric and adult onset diabetes as well as obesity, heart disease, and chronic inflammation. His research focuses on genetic switches, known as hormone receptors, that control sugar, salt and fat metabolism, metabolic rate and reproduction.