Michael N. Hall has won the 2017 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award. Hall, an ASCB member since 2002, conducts research at Biozentrum, University of Basel, Switzerland, and was recognized for his discoveries concerning the nutrient-activated TOR proteins and their central role in the metabolic control of cell growth.
Disruption of the TOR (or target of rapamycin) network contributes to human illnesses, such as diabetes and cancer, and has been implicated in a wide range of age-related disorders. Halls work showed that the TOR system adjusts cell size in response to the availability of raw materials and revealed an unanticipated linchpin of normal cell physiology.
Before Hall made these discoveries, cell growth was thought to be a passively regulated, spontaneous process that occurs when nutrients are available, without the help of an underlying regulatory system. These scientific breakthroughs have contributed to the understanding of the fundamental mechanisms that underlie growth, development, and aging.
Hall will be presented with the Lasker Award during a September 15 ceremony in New York. Regarded as the premiere American biomedical research prize, the Lasker Awards carry an honorarium of $250,000 for each category. For more information on the other Lasker Award winners this year, visit http://www.laskerfoundation.org/.
Hall discusses TOR and basic cell growth in this video: https://youtu.be/yRsSBSiRQ-o