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Posted: 30 May 2008

Cell biologist receives UCD Ulysses Medal

One of the world’s leading experts in cell biology, Professor Shuh Narumiya was awarded the UCD Ulysses Medal at the UCD Conway Institute on 23 May 2008. Professor Narumiya received the award in recognition of his scientific research and discoveries in the area of cell biology which have resulted in over 370 peer-reviewed publications and significant research awards.

“Over the last twenty years, Professor Narumiya has reinvented the field of cell signalling and cell biology” said Dr Hugh Brady, President of UCD, presenting the award. “Of all the scientists gathered here today at the UCD Conway Institute, I can safely say that about 88% of them are already using Professor Narumiya’s work, and the remaining 12% will be using it in the near future.”

Professor Narumiya is the ‘father figure’ of two fields of scientific research: prostanoids and the Ras homologue (Rho) protein family. For the past 20 years, he has been working to understand Rho cell signalling, and in particular the molecular process by which virtually every system in the body is regulated by Rho. His scientific journey began with his discovery of the Ras homologue Rho as a target of bacterial toxins right and continued through to his identification of its role in tumour formation and cancer.

Accepting the award, Prof Shuh Narumiya, Professor and Dean of the Kyoto University Faculty of Medicine, drew comparisons between his own life’s work and the wanderings of Homer’s Odysseus and Joyce’s Stephen Bloom.

According to Professor Narumiya, his scientific work focuses on two main questions: how cells make their shape, move and form tissues; and how derangement of these mechanisms can lead to disease.

The Ulysses Medal is the highest honour that the university can bestow. Previous recipients of the award include: Nobel economist, Professor James J. Heckman; Dr Phillip Sharp, Nobel Laureate; and Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.

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Cell biologist receives UCD Ulysses Medal