In research retreat keynote, Green highlights unique UMMS resources

Winner of Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Research caps first day of Basic Research Retreat

By Jim Fessenden

UMass Medical School Communications

October 07, 2011

Extolling the unique resources available to scientists at UMass Medical School, Michael R. Green, MD, PhD, the Lambi and Sarah Adams Chair in Genetic Research and professor of molecular medicine and biochemistry & molecular pharmacology, capped the first day of the 16th Annual Basic Research Retreat on Tuesday, Oct. 4. Dr. Green gave the keynote address before a packed auditorium of colleagues, faculty and students from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the Hoagland Pincus Conference Center in Shrewsbury.

Green, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, was named the recipient of the 2011 Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Research at last month’s Convocation ceremony, an award that includes the honor of giving the keynote address at the annual basic science retreat.

During his introduction, Chancellor Michael F. Collins noted how important it is to celebrate the many accomplishments of UMMS’ world-class faculty. “It is very difficult to select one recipient among so many accomplished scientists. In the instance of Dr. Green, his scholarly accomplishments are legion. They have brought a great distinction to our university and I believe it is extremely fitting that he is giving this year’s keynote lecture,” Chancellor Collins said.

In an accompanying video showing the announcement of the Chancellor’s Medals at Convocation, Collins noted that Green is a prolific scientist who has published more than 250 papers in peer-reviewed journals, the vast majority in top 20 high-impact journals. Describing Green as energetic, creative, inventive and rigorous, Collins said he is a “highly cited author who has discovered fundamental insights into the fields of transcriptional regulation and splicing.”

In his lecture, Green used his lab’s work with genome-wide loss of function screens to answer problems related to gene regulation in cancer biology to illustrate investigative techniques that can be widely used. “I believe that our general approach here can be applied to answer a number of questions about molecular biology,” he said. Green went on to explained how his approach is yielding new insights into the pathways responsible for turning off natural tumor suppression genes that work to eliminate cancerous cells from our bodies.

The 16th Annual Research Retreat, which concluded on Wednesday, Oct. 5, included presentations by more than a dozen UMMS faculty and students organized around visions in system biology, innate immunity, microbial pathogenesis and new core technologies at UMass Medical School.