When it comes to future Nobel Prize recipients, Shaul Massry, Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine, seems to have a knack for predicting champions. This year alone, three of the 2006 Nobel Prize winners are previous recipients of his foundation’s Massry Prize, which recognizes exceptional individuals working in biomedical sciences for the advancement of health.
Since the Massry Prize’s inception a decade ago by the Meira and Shaul G. Massry Foundation, six of the 17 award-winners have gone on to receive the Nobel Prize, giving the award a 35 percent prediction rate of future Nobel Prize winners.
This year, Roger D. Kornberg, 2003 Massry Prize winner, was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his studies on how eukaryotic transcription works at a molecular level. In addition, Andrew Fire and Craig Mello, 2005 Massry Prize winners, won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their discovery of RNA interference, or gene silencing by double-stranded RNA.
“The Massry Prize has built a strong tradition of recognizing some of the most important contributors to the biomedical sciences, which is evident in this year’s Nobel Prize selection of three previous Massry Prize winners,” said Brian E. Henderson, dean of the Keck School. “The Keck School of Medicine is delighted that this distinguished honor that has tended to be so predictive provides a glimpse of future Nobel Laureates.”
This year’s winner of the 2006 Massry Prize is Akira Endo, whose work led to the discovery of cholesterol-lowering statins. Endo will be honored Nov. 4 at an award ceremony at the Council Chambers of the City of Beverly Hills.