Michael N. Hall, Professor of Biochemistry at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, is one of the winners of the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. He received the prize for his discovery of the protein kinase target of rapamycin (TOR) and its role in cell growth control. In the same week in December, Hall’s laboratory was announced as a co-recipient of an 11.2 million Euros Synergy Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). In an interview with EMBOencounters, Hall recalls the award ceremony in California and the highlights of 2013.
Life Sciences in India – on the right track
The past twenty years have seen tremendous changes in the life science sector in India. New initiatives have helped to build basic science, establish laboratories, set up funding and recruitment programmes for postdoctoral researchers and faculty. India’s challenge now is to improve the flow of funds, to retain or bring back their best brains and to become more competitive internationally.
From targeted to multitargeted cancer treatments
EMBO Member Alexander Levitzki, Professor of Biochemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, pioneered the generation of tyrosine phosphorylation inhibitors (tyrphostins) in the late 1980s to the mid-1990s. Work in his group focused on the development of “tyrphostins”, or “tyrosine kinase inhibitors” (TKI), directed against epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), Her-2, Bcr-Abl, Jak-2, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 and platelet-derived growth factor receptor. These findings led to the development of 15 tyrosine kinase inhibitors that are currently used in cancer therapy. Dramatic effects have been achieved in the treatment of early chronic myelogenous leukemia with Gleevec. Nevertheless, despite the increasing use of tyrosine kinase inhibitors in the clinic, their performance has been modest against solid tumours.
EMBO Press launches
More than 230 guests attended the launch of EMBO Press held concurrently with the American Society of Cell Biology meeting on 15 December 2013. The event took place at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas overlooking the Mississippi.