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Kathleen Green Awarded 2011 Walder Award

Feinberg School of Medicine professor honored for research excellence

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January 5, 2012 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Kathleen Green, the Joseph L. Mayberry Professor of Pathology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, has been named the tenth recipient of the Martin E. and Gertrude G. Walder Award for Research Excellence.

The $15,000 award, established by Dr. Joseph A. Walder and given annually by the Provost, recognizes excellence in research in any of Northwestern’s schools or disciplines.

A professor in the departments of dermatology and pathology, Green is a leader in the field of epithelial cell biology. Her laboratory was the first to clone the genes for key elements of the desmosome, a structure at the outer membrane essential for cell-to-cell adhesions in epithelial tissues and the heart.

Green’s work has made it easier to diagnose human diseases of the skin and heart, including a type of heart disease that results in arrhythmia and sudden death. Her laboratory has made major contributions to our understanding of how desmosomes form, and has shown that, in addition to their role in intercellular adhesion, desmosomes also play a critical cell-signaling role in epithelial differentiation.

Green is the pathology department’s associate chair for research and graduate education. At the Lurie Cancer Center, she is a leader of the Tumor Invasion, Metastasis and Angiogenesis Program. She also directs the National Cancer Institute-funded Carcinogenesis Training Program, which annually provides interdisciplinary research training for eight pre-doctoral students in cancer biology.

The first female Ph.D. president of the Society for Investigative Dermatology, Green was recently elected secretary of the American Society for Cell Biology.

The Walder Award is named for Martin E. Walder, who earned his doctorate and medical degree at Northwestern. Its first recipient, Northwestern historian T.H. Breen, was honored in 2002.