Chang, Howard 2018 Molecular Biology

Chang, Howard 2018 Molecular Biology

Howard Y. Chang, Stanford University School of Medicine, received the 2018 NAS Award in Molecular Biology.

Dr. Chang is a physician-scientist who made major contributions to genome science in his discoveries about a new class of genes called long noncoding RNAs, which are pervasive in the human genome. Long noncoding RNAs are important causes of cancer metastasis and other human diseases, as well as development and aging. His work showed that long noncoding RNAs can act as guides, scaffolds, or decoys between DNA and enzyme machines.

These discoveries themselves would not have been possible without Dr. Chang’s invention of new genomic technologies such as ATAC-seq, which maps open chromatic sites with enzymes that copy and paste DNA, and ChIRP-seq, which maps RNA occupancy sites on the genome. ATAC-seq in particular has revolutionized the field of epigenetics, improving the ability to map active DNA elements by 1 million-fold in sensitivity and 100-fold in speed. Dr. Chang’s genomic technologies have already been widely adopted by investigators in thousands of labs around the world and have revolutionized the study of many human diseases and model organisms.

The NAS Award in Molecular Biology is supported by Pfizer Inc. and recognizes a recent notable discovery in molecular biology by a young scientist (defined as no older than 45) who is a citizen of the United States. The award is presented with a medal and a $25,000 prize.


Watch Chang's Acceptance Speech »

Press Release »

NAS Award in Molecular Biology »

2018 NAS Award Recipients »

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