Joseph L. Goldstein is elected Trustee; Craig B. Thompson to chair Medical Advisory Board

Joseph L. Goldstein, a noted scientist who shared the 1985 Nobel Prize for discoveries related to cholesterol metabolism, has been elected a Trustee of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He will become one of 10 trustees of the Institute, a medical research organization with scientists throughout the United States and a grants program that supports science education and select international researchers.

Goldstein, Chairman of the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, has long been associated with the Institute as a member and chair of its Medical Advisory Board (MAB). Named to succeed Goldstein as chair of HHMIs Medical Advisory Board is Craig B. Thompson, a cancer biologist who serves as Scientific Director of the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania.

Goldstein, 62, received his medical degree from UT Southwestern in 1966, where he became first interested in genetics and in a research career. After stints at Massachusetts General Hospital—where he met long-term scientific collaborator Michael S. Brown--and the National Institutes of Health, Goldstein returned to UT Southwestern in 1972 to head the fledgling division of medical genetics. Working together, Goldstein and Brown began their collaborative research on a human genetic disease—familial hypercholesterolemia. This collaboration led them to unravel the mechanisms of regulated cholesterol import into human cells. This work became the basis for the 1985 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Their laboratory continues to focus on cholesterol regulation and its role in disease.

A leader in academic medicine, Goldstein has had an impact felt well beyond UT Southwestern and his specific area of research. As an outgrowth of his own experiences as a physician and a researcher, he has been an advocate for increasing support for physician-scientists who conduct patient-oriented research. With encouragement from Goldstein, HHMI recently conducted an investigator competition focused on identifying a dozen such researchers.

Goldstein has served as a member of the Institutes Medical Advisory Board since 1985, becoming its chair in 1995; he also served on the Scientific Review Board from 1978 to 1984. Goldstein is Trustee of The Rockefeller University, chair of the awards jury for the Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards, and a scientific adviser to numerous academic institutions.

In addition to winning the Nobel Prize, Goldstein and Brown have received some of the most prestigious scientific research awards. These include the Richard Lounsbery Award from the National Academy of Sciences, the Gairdner Foundation International Award, the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize and the Lasker Award. Both he and Brown also received the National Medal of Science.

A native of Kingstree, South Carolina, Goldstein received a bachelors degree from Washington and Lee University. He is the Regental Professor of Medicine of the University of Texas and holds the Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Sciences at UT Southwestern. Goldstein is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a foreign member of the Royal Society (London).

As the new chair of the Institutes Medical Advisory Board, Thompson also has a long association with the Institute, both as a scientist and as a member of the MAB. Thompson was first appointed an associate Hughes investigator while a member of the University of Michigan in 1987. He became director of the Knapp Center at the University of Chicago and a Hughes Investigator in 1993, resigning six years later to assume the directorship of the Abramson Institute. Thompsons lab focuses on the role of genes that regulate programmed cell death, and their potential use in treating cancer.

Thompson, 49, earned a bachelors degree at Dartmouth College and studied at Dartmouth Medical School, before receiving a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1977. He trained at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, both in Boston, before serving as a physician at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. He then completed a fellowship in hematology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.

As a scientific and philanthropic organization, HHMI invests more than $440 million annually in biomedical research, employing approximately 330 of the nations most innovative scientists at some 70 universities and research centers around the nation. As an adjunct to its investigator program, HHMI is also constructing a research campus on a 281-acre parcel of land in Loudoun County, Virginia. The Janelia Farm research campus is expected to open in 2006.

Through its complementary grants program, the Institute disburses more than $100 million a year on a variety of initiatives to enhance the teaching of science, beginning at the earliest grade levels through doctoral fellowships, and to support career development among the most promising potential young scientists. Through its International Research Scholars program, HHMI supports the research of select scientists in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Canada, Australia and elsewhere.

For More Information

Jim Keeley 301.215.8858