MSNBC Host Rachel Maddow to Present Award Honoring Women in Science to Researcher Whose Work on LDL Cholesterol Led to New Therapeutics
NEW YORK, NY—The Rockefeller University has announced that Helen H. Hobbs, MD, will receive the 2015 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize, an annual award recognizing the contributions of outstanding women scientists. Hobbs is professor of internal medicine and molecular genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Rachel Maddow, host of The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, will present the Prize in New York City on November 17, 2015.
Hobbs’ research focuses on the genetic determinants of plasma lipoprotein levels and risk for cardiovascular disease. In 2006, Hobbs and collaborator Jonathan Cohen were the first to identify how gene mutations that inhibit production of a protein called PCSK9 result in extremely low levels of low-density lipoprotein, the so-called “bad” cholesterol, in the blood. This discovery led to the development of the PCSK9 inhibitor drugs, Praluent and Repatha, which were approved by the FDA this year. Hobbs’ more recent work has shed light on the genetic drivers of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a chronic condition that affects roughly one-third of Americans and can lead to cirrhosis.
The Pearl Meister Greengard Prize was founded in 2004 by Nobel laureate Paul Greengard, Vincent Astor Professor and head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience at Rockefeller University, and his wife, sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard. Greengard used his Nobel honorarium to create one of the first international accolades to honor women in science, naming the Prize after his mother, who died during his birth. The Prize carries a $100,000 honorarium.
“We founded the Pearl Meister Greengard Prize to honor the extraordinary work of established women scientists and to motivate young women considering careers in the sciences,” said Greengard. “Dr. Hobbs’ work is nothing short of inspirational—she is unraveling the genetic underpinnings of cardiovascular disease and changing the way we look at one of the most common, complex health issues of our time.”
Greengard is a neuroscientist whose discoveries about nerve cell communication in the brain earned him the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. His research has advanced understanding of the molecular mechanisms of neurological and psychiatric disorders including depression, Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia. Recently, Greengard published a study identifying two key proteins that may play a role in neuronal cell loss in Parkinson’s disease.
Winners of the Pearl Meister Greengard Prize are selected by a committee of ten scientists, five of them recipients of the Nobel Prize. Among the 11 previous winners of the Pearl Meister Greengard Prize, two have subsequently won the Nobel Prize and another received a Lasker Award.
The Pearl Meister Greengard Prize ceremony is open to the public, but registration is required. For more information, please visit http://greengardprize.rockefeller.edu