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Morimoto Receives Huntington Award

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September 27, 2005

Richard I. Morimoto, the newly named Bill A. and Gayle Cook Professor in Biological Sciences, has been honored for Excellence in Medicine by the Huntington Disease Society of America (HDSA).

The society is a national non-profit health agency that supports more than 40 scientists worldwide with annual Coalition for the Cure grants ranging from $40,000 to $100,000. Morimoto is a Coalition for the Cure investigator.

Morimoto and his colleagues have focused their research on the molecular body of protein quality control and cellular stress responses. The current goal is to understand how eukaryotes sense and respond to physiologic and environmental stress by the activation of stress signaling pathways that integrate stress responses with cell growth and cell death.

They are investigating how molecular chaperones recognize and capture folded intermediates and processes by which proteins are refolded, degraded or undergo aggregation. They hope to understand how misfolded proteins and protein aggregates cause diseases such as Huntington's, Parkinson's, ALS, Scrapie/Prion, cystic fibrosis and Alzheimer’s.

Morimoto served as dean of the Graduate School and associate provost of graduate education from 1998 to 2004 and previously as chair of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology.

Morimoto has received a MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health and his research has been supported by the National Institutes for General Medical Science, National Institutes of Aging, National Institutes for Neurological Diseases and Stroke, American Cancer Society, ALS Society of America and NATO.

A frequent speaker at invited symposia and seminars around the world, Morimoto has been a visiting professor at the Technion Institute in Israel, the Ecole Normale Superieur in France, the University of Rome, Peking University and Kyoto University.

He is also professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology and director of the Rice Institute for Biomedical Research at Northwestern.