April 27, 2006
Vol. 25 No. 15

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    The Alliance for Aging Research in Washington, D.C., has named Robert Fogel “Indispensable Person of the Year for Health Research.” Fogel, the Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of American Institutions in the Graduate School of Business, will receive the award at a ceremony Tuesday, Sept. 12, in Washington, D.C., where he also will participate in a media briefing on Capitol Hill with congressional leaders and prominent scientists.

    Susan Gzesh, Director of the Human Rights Program and Senior Lecturer in the College and the Center for International Studies, has been appointed by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to the Illinois New Americans Immigrant Policy Council. The council is composed of leaders from business, religious, labor, philanthropic, community and academic sectors and is charged with making policy recommendations to enable Illinois state government to be more responsive to immigrants and refugees.

    Tong-Chuan He, Assistant Professor in Surgery, who also works in the Molecular Oncology Laboratory at the University, and Jonathan Staley, Assistant Professor in Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology, have been named recipients of the American Cancer Society, Illinois Division, Stephen F. Sener, M.D. Research Scholar Award. He and Staley will receive $500,000 to help fund their research.

    The grants are being made in honor of Sener, a leading oncologist surgeon with a special focus in breast cancer. He also is the immediate past president of the American Cancer Society and a long-time board member of its Illinois division.

    While the awards largely support research that focuses on breast cancer, the results of the studies also will benefit bone cancer, colon cancer and soft-tissue sarcoma.

    As a result of the grants, Staley’s research will examine critical steps in the gene mutation process to understand the role it plays in breast cancer.

    His research will examine connective tissue growth factor, a protein involved in many of the processes that are not regulated correctly in cancer cells, leading to tumor formation and the spreading of the tumor to other sites in the body.

    Leo Kadanoff, the John D. MacArthur Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Physics, Mathematics and the College, on Jan. 1 began serving a one-year term as president-elect of the American Physical Society. Next year he will serve as president. Kadanoff’s awards include the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest scientific honor. Founded in 1899, the society has 43,000 members. Among its activities, the society publishes the world’s most widely read physics research journals and conducts more than 20 meetings annually.

    Tufts University School of Medicine has awarded the Dean’s Medal to Joseph Kirsner, the Louis Block Professor in Medicine, in honor of his distinguished career. Kirsner graduated from Tufts Medical School in 1933, and in 1993 received Tufts’ President’s Medal, presented to esteemed graduates.

    The Dean’s Medal embodies recognition by Kirsner’s medical colleagues. The honor cites his “devotion to humanity, active local and global citizenship, and consistent commitment to ongoing medical innovation and learning,” focusing on his international renown as a researcher, educator and clinician.

    Donald Levy, the Albert Michelson Distinguished Service Professor in Chemistry and the College, will receive the 2006 E. Bright Wilson Award from the American Chemical Society on March 28.

    The Wilson Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments in fundamental or applied spectroscopy in chemistry. The ACS is citing Levy “for the development of supersonic jet spectroscopy and its application to the study of molecular structure and molecular dynamics.”

    Kevin Murphy, the George J. Stigler Distinguished Service Professor of Economics in the Graduate School of Business, and Robert Topel, the Isidore Brown and Gladys J. Brown Professor of Urban and Labor Economics in the Graduate School of Business, are the recipients of Research!America’s 2005 Eugene Garfield Economic Impact of Medical and Health Research Award.

    The award recognizes Murphy and Topel’s study, “The Economic Value of Medical Research” published in Measuring the Gains from Medical Research, An Economic Approach. Calculating a dollar value for gains in longevity due to advances in medical research, they estimate that “improvements in life expectancy alone added approximately $2.6 trillion per year to national wealth over the 197098 period.” They also calculated economic gains linked to conditions such as heart disease, where research has led to fewer deaths in recent decades.

    The Eugene Garfield Economic Impact of Medical and Health Research Award serves to recognize those whose work illustrates the economic and health impacts derived from medical and health research. Research!America is a not-for-profit, public education and advocacy alliance working to make medical and health research—including research to prevent disease, disability and injury, and to promote health—a high national priority.

    Tobias Moskowitz, Associate Professor of Finance and Neubauer Family Faculty Fellow in the Graduate School of Business, has received the 2005 Brattle Prize for the best corporate finance paper published in the Journal of Finance. He received the prize for his paper, “Testing Agency Theory with Entrepreneur Effort and Wealth.”

    Moskowitz also has been awarded the Barclay Global Investors/Michael Brennan Award for his paper, “Confronting Information Asymmetries Evidence from Real Estate Markets,” published in the Review of Financial Studies. Moskowitz also won the award in 2004.

    Olufunmilayo Olopade, Professor in Medicine and Human Genetics and Director of the Cancer Risk Clinic at the University Hospitals, will be the first recipient of the American Association for Cancer Research’s Minorities in Cancer Research-Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship.

    The award is given to an outstanding scientist who has made “meritorious contributions to the field of cancer research and who has, through leadership or by example, furthered the advancement of minority investigators in cancer research.”

    The award is named in honor of African-American scientist Jane Cooke Wright, a pioneer in clinical cancer chemotherapy. Olopade was selected for her “pre-eminent research in breast cancer.”

    Her application of a multidisciplinary laboratory and clinical approach to cancer genetics has led to strategies for prevention and early detection in patients at high risk for breast cancer, and to the identification of novel BRCA-1 mutations in African-American families with a history of familial breast cancer.

    Mihnea Popa, Assistant Professor in Mathematics and the College, has received an American Mathematical Society Centennial Fellowship for 2005-2006. These fellowships are awarded annually to between two and four outstanding mathematicians to further their careers in research.

    Popa plans to use his fellowship at the universities of Michigan, Rome and Chicago. A specialist in algebraic geometry, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2001. He was a Benjamin Peirce assistant professor at Harvard University before joining the Chicago faculty this fall.

    The award will be presented at a ceremony in Chicago on March 21.

    Richard Thaler has won the 2005 Paul A. Samuelson Award for outstanding scholarly writing on lifelong financial security for his research Save More Tomorrow: Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Savings. Thaler is the Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics in the Graduate School of Business.

    The award is given by the TIAA-CREF Institute, the research and educational arm of TIAA-CREF, a pension system with over $300 billion in assets for people employed in education and research in the United States.

    Thaler is the fourth current or former Chicago GSB faculty member to win the award since its inception in 2000.

    Named in honor of the Nobel laureate economist and Chicago alumnus Paul Samuelson, the award is given each year in recognition of an outstanding research publication containing ideas that the public and private sectors can use to maintain and improve Americans’ financial well-being.

    Thaler’s co-author of the Save More Tomorrow research, Shlomo Benartzi of the University of California, Los Angeles, was honored as a co-recipient of the award. Their winning paper was published in the Journal of Political Economy in February of 2004.

    The Save More Tomorrow plan allows employees to allocate a portion of their future salary increases toward retirement savings. Contributions increase on each scheduled pay raise until the contribution rate reaches a present maximum. Employees can opt out of the plan at any time.