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Johns Hopkins biology professor wins top research award

Johns Hopkins University adjunct biology professor Donald Brown has won the 2012 Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science for his work in genetics, as well as mentoring young scientists. He is the sixth Hopkins faculty member to win the prestigious award for basic and clinical research.

Brown, who also is director emeritus of the Carnegie Institution for Science Department of Embryology, was recognized for work he and others did in gene amplification, one process that is responsible for runaway growth of chemotherapy-resistant cancer cells. He has made other discoveries about the nature of genes but today focuses on metamorphosis in frogs.

"We were one of the first groups to purify genes of any kind," Brown said in a statement. "We learned a lot about their structure, function, and evolution before the era of recombinant DNA."

Another Hopkins affiliated biologist, Joseph Gall, won the Lasker Award in 2006 for his role as a "founder of modern cell biology." Four other Hopkins faculty have won the award for work including on brain chemistry and the discovery that vitamin A prevents blindness and infections in children in poor countries.

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