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University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

University of Pittsburgh Alum Bert O’Malley, M.D., Awarded Ernst Schering Prize

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 23, 2011 – University of Pittsburgh alumnus and Pittsburgh native Bert O’Malley, M.D., has been awarded the 2011 Ernst Schering Prize for international excellence in medicine and basic biological and chemical research.

The €50,000 prize, which will be awarded at an invitation-only ceremony in Berlin, Germany, on Sept. 20, honors Dr. O’Malley’s pioneering work on the actions of steroid hormones and nuclear receptors, as well as his training of more than 250 students and postdoctoral fellows who now serve as professors, deans and chief executive officers for research centers around the world.

Dr. O’Malley, currently the Tom Thompson Distinguished Service Professor and chair of molecular and cellular biology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, helped uncover the workings of estrogen and progesterone and the regulation of eukaryotic gene expression. He described the molecular events that allow hormones to influence genes to make proteins, and discovered “coactivator” and “corepressor” gene regulators that profoundly influence tissue development and physiology.

“This is a significant and much deserved honor,” said Arthur S. Levine, M.D., Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and dean, School of Medicine. “Dr. O’Malley has made outstanding contributions to our understanding of how hormones work and how their expression is regulated, which is critical to many areas of medicine, including endocrinology and cancer.”

Often called the father of molecular endocrinology, Dr. O’Malley grew up in Wilkinsburg, Pa., and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1963. Before joining Baylor in 1973, he held positions at the National Institute of Child Health and Development, part of the National Institutes of Health, and at Vanderbilt University. He completed his clinical residency at Duke University Medical Center.

He is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and many awards, including the 2007 National Medal of Science. O’Malley has been elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Microbiology. He has published more than 650 papers and holds 22 patents in the fields of gene regulation, molecular endocrinology and steroid receptor action.

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The Ernst Schering Foundation

Established in 2002 by Schering AG, Berlin, the independent non-profit Ernst Schering Foundation aims to promote science and art with a special focus on the natural sciences and contemporary art. In addition, the Foundation promotes the scientific and cultural education of children and youth and the dialogue between science and society. Particular emphasis lies on projects in frontier areas, especially at the interface of art and science. The Foundation has an endowment of €35 million.

The Ernst Schering Prize is one of the most prestigious German science prizes with a prize money of €50,000. It was established by the Ernst Schering Research Foundation in 1991 and is given annually. Since 2003, the prize has been awarded by the Ernst Schering Foundation. It is bestowed on an international level for particularly outstanding basic research in the fields of medicine, biology or chemistry.

About the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

As one of the nation’s leading academic centers for biomedical research, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine integrates advanced technology with basic science across a broad range of disciplines in a continuous quest to harness the power of new knowledge and improve the human condition. Driven mainly by the School of Medicine and its affiliates, Pitt has ranked among the top 10 recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1997 and now ranks fifth in the nation, according to NIH data for 2008 (the most recent year for which the data are final).

Likewise, the School of Medicine is equally committed to advancing the quality and strength of its medical and graduate education programs, for which it is recognized as an innovative leader, and to training highly skilled, compassionate clinicians and creative scientists well-equipped to engage in world-class research. The School of Medicine is the academic partner of UPMC, which has collaborated with the University to raise the standard of medical excellence in Pittsburgh and to position health care as a driving force behind the region’s economy. For more information about the School of Medicine, see www.medschool.pitt.edu

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