Thursday, March 27, 2008

Nobel Nobility

Nobel winner gives winnings to 4 schools :
UNC's Nobel Prize-winning professor has decided to give part of his award back to the institutions where he worked and studied.

Oliver Smithies, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at UNC, and his colleagues, Mario Capecchi of the University of Utah and Sir Martin Evans of Cardiff University, were awarded a prize of about $1.6 million. The award was given in Swedish krona.

The three scientists were recognized in the field of medicine for their work with genetic targeting that began in the early 1980s.

Their research focused on genetic targeting, in which mice genes are modified to determine the effect this alteration will have.

Smithies has since split his part of the award, about $530,000, among the four universities where he has worked or studied. Each will receive about $130,000.

The universities that received money were Oxford University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Toronto and UNC.

'All four places had something to do with it,' Smithies said. 'Each in different ways have been part of my going to Stockholm, and this is a nice way to recognize them.'

Smithies received his master's and Ph.D. from Oxford, then did some postdoctoral work at Wisconsin.
He began his research for the work he received his Nobel Prize for at the University of Toronto, then returned to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for 25 years and finally settled at UNC for the past 20 years.

The Nobel Prize money is given with no specific stipulations, and each university that Smithies is giving to, he said, will ultimately decide how the money will be used.

"It's for the benefit of the universities, not for my benefit or anyone else's," Smithies said.

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