Human Frontier Science Program Recognizes Dewpoint Founder Tony Hyman for His Pioneering Work on Biomolecular Condensates

November 5th, 2020 | Human Frontier Science Program

The Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) has announced that the 2021 HFSP Nakasone Award will be awarded to Anthony Hyman of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden (Germany) and Clifford Brangwynne of Princeton University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (USA) for their discovery of a new state of biological matter, phase-separated macromolecule condensates, that play an important role in cell organisation, gene regulation, signalling and pathology.

The HFSP Nakasone Award was established to honour scientists who have made key breakthroughs in fields at the forefront of the life sciences. It recognizes the vision of Japan’s former Prime Minister Nakasone in the creation of the international science funding organisation.

In their 2009 publication, Cliff Brangwynne and Anthony Hyman reported that P-granules, which specify the germ line in C. elegans development, are phase-separated droplets consisting of specific proteins and RNAs that assemble into a liquid condensate in order to concentrate on one side of the egg cell. This finding confirmed membrane-free compartmentalization of cell organelles and was completely unexpected. They recognized the importance of their discovery as revealing a new form of biological matter and correctly predicted that phase separated liquid macromolecule condensates would be widespread in biology, with multiple roles in normal biology and pathogenic processes…

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