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UC Alum Wins Prestigious International Science Award

Cincinnati native C. David Allis won the 2014 Japan Prize for his contribution to the “Life Science” field.

Date: 1/31/2014 12:00:00 AM
By: Courtney Danser
Phone: (513) 556-8577

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C. David Allis – a Cincinnati native and 1973 graduate of University of Cincinnati – was awarded the 30th annual 2014 Japan Prize. The award is one of the most prestigious international honors in science and technology and comes with a cash prize worth nearly half a million dollars.

The Japan Foundation presents the award to two scientists and researchers each year who have made substantial contributions to their fields, as well as peace and prosperity of mankind. Allis was awarded the prize in the “Life Science” field.

Dr. C. David Allis
Dr. C. David Allis accepting the 2014 Japan Prize in Japan

Allis is a leading researcher in the field of epigenetics, which explores the study of gene changes not caused by changes in the DNA sequence.

He is credited for his world-first discovery of histone modifications as fundamental regulators of gene expression. Histones are proteins that package DNA. Allis discovered chemical “tags” that bind to sections of the proteins in order to activate or silence nearby genes. This discovery provides science with a much deeper understanding of genetics and disease. 

Research in this area has already led to developments for treating cancer, and Allis continues to lead in  this field, making advancements in explaining the importance of histone modifications. 

“The Japan Prize teaches us to strive to help make the world a better place,” Allis says. “I have tried to do this through my science, and I am pleased that some of my lab’s discoveries are helping people live healthier lives. Words cannot express how deeply honored and humbled I am to be receiving this prize.”

Allis is the Joy and Jack Fishman Professor and Head of Laboratory of Chromatin Biology and Epigenetics at The Rockefeller University in New York City. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from UC in 1973 and he was named a McMicken College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award winner in 2007.

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