Dr. de Lange studied biochemistry at the University of Amsterdam and the Dutch Cancer Institute. As part of her undergraduate training, she worked on globin gene expression with Richard Flavell at the NIMR in Mill Hill before joining Piet Borst in 1981 at the Dutch Cancer Institute as a graduate student. In 1985, she obtained her Ph.D. (cum laude) and joined Harold Varmus at the University of California, San Francisco, for postdoctoral studies. With Dr. Varmus, she isolated human telomeric DNA and was the first to show that tumor telomeres shorten. In 1990, she was appointed Assistant Professor at The Rockefeller University, and was promoted to Professor in 1997. She is currently the Leon Hess Professor, an American Cancer Society Research Professor and the Director of the Anderson Center for Cancer Research at Rockefeller.
Dr. de Lange is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization, the U.S. National Academy of Science, the Dutch Royal Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for Advancement of Science, the American Society for Microbiology, the New York Academy of Science, the AACR Academy, and the Institute of Medicine.
Dr. de Lange received numerous awards, including the inaugural Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research (shared), the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center Prize, the AACR's G.H.A. Clowes Awards, the Vilcek Prize, the Vanderbilt Prize, the Dr. H.P. Heineken Prize from the Royal Dutch Academy for Arts and Sciences, the Judd award from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Jill Rose Award from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, theBreakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, and the Canada Gairdner International Award. She holds an honorary degree from the University of Utrecht.
Dr. Günter Blobel received his M.D. from the University of Tübingen in 1960 and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1967. He was named the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Professor in 1992 and became an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 1986.
Dr. Blobel was the 1999 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery that proteins have intrinsic signals that govern their transport and localization in the cell. He also received the King Faisal Award in 1996, the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1993, the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize in 1989, and the Gairdner Foundation International Award in 1982.
Professor Qais Al-Awqati received his M.B., Ch.B. from the University of Baghdad in 1962. He was named the Robert F. Loeb Professor of Medicine in 1987 and became a Professor of Physiology and Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in 1983.
Professor Al-Awqati’s research activities include stem cells, epithelial cell biology, ion channels, and the overall development of the kidney.
Wayne A. Hendrickson is an American biophysicist and University professor at Columbia. He is best known for innovating the use of multi-wavelength anomalous dispersion as an analytical tool for protein crystallography.
Dr. Joan Steitz received her B.S. from Antioch College and her Ph.D. from Harvard University. She is Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at the Yale School of Medicine.
Dr. Steitz is best known for discovering and defining the function of small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs), which occur only in higher cells and organisms. She is also interested in the multiple roles played by small RNA–protein complexes in gene expression in vertebrate cells.
In 2002, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries concerning the genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death. His research interests focus on how genes control animal development and behavior and the ways this can affect human health.
Richard Lifton is President of The Rockefeller University, where he is also head of the laboratory of Human Genetics and Genomics. He graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth, and received MD and PhD degrees from Stanford. He then was Resident and Chief Resident in Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and continued on the Harvard Medical School faculty before being recruited to Yale in 1993, where he served as Sterling Professor and Chair of Genetics from 1998 to 2016 before moving to Rockefeller. At Yale he was also Founder and Executive Director of the Yale Center for Genome Analysis.
Dr. Lifton has used human genetics and genomics to identify mutations that identify key genes and pathways underlying hypertension, myocardial infarction, osteoporosis, cerebral hemorrhage, congenital heart disease and neoplasia. His work on hypertension, which affects one billion people worldwide, has demonstrated the key roles of renal salt and potassium handling in blood pressure regulation, leading to new approaches to treatment and prevention that have been applied to the general population world-wide. In 2009 his group developed exome sequencing and performed the first clinical diagnosis by genome-level sequencing.
He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He formerly served on the Governing Councils of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, and is currently on the Advisory Council to the NIH Director, the Scientific Advisory Boards of Massachusetts General Hospital, the Whitehead Institute, the Broad Institute, the Simons Foundation for Autism Research, and the Board of Directors of Roche and Genentech. He recently served as Co-Chair of the Planning Committee for the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative.
He has received the highest scientific awards of the American Heart Association, the American Society of Nephrology, the Council for High Blood Pressure Research, the American Society of Hypertension, the International Society of Hypertension, and the International Society of Nephrology. He received the 2008 Wiley Prize for Biomedical Sciences and the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.