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Jan. 30, 2007

Oliver Smithies of UNC to receive genetic society medal

Dr. Oliver Smithies, UNC Excellence professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, has been awarded the 2007 Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal from the Genetics Society of America. The medal is given for lifetime contributions to the field of genetics.

Smithies developed a way to create mice with specific genetic mutations that can mimic human genetic illnesses such as cystic fibrosis, some forms of anemia, high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. The technique has helped researchers worldwide uncover a wealth of information about the role of genes in health and illness. Earlier in his career, Smithies invented starch gel electrophoresis, a technique for separating proteins.

A member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Smithies won the 2001 Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research and the 2002 Massry Award. In 2003, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine, a part of the National Academy of Sciences.

Smithies will receive the Morgan medal in January 2008 at the Genetics Society of America’s annual meeting in San Diego, Calif. Smithies served as the society’s president in 1975.

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School of Medicine contact: Les Lang, (919) 843-9687 or