Yale’s Ullu wins research award for molecular parasitology

Elisabetta Ullu, professor of internal medicine and cell biology, was honored by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, for her research in molecular parasitology.

Elisabetta Ullu

Ullu was awarded the society’s inaugural Alice and C.C. Wang award for her laboratory’s work with the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei, which causes African sleeping sickness, to uncover a novel mechanism of gene silencing known as RNA interference (RNAi). This discovery “made a revolution in the ability to investigate the function of genes in parasites,” said Shulamit Michaeli from the Israel Science Foundation in support of her nomination.

The importance of RNAi as a biological phenomenon was recognized in 2006, when the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine was awarded to Andrew Fire and Craig Mello for describing the process in roundworm nematodes.

 “Elisabetta Ullu is exactly the kind of recipient the society had in mind when this award was established by Alice and C. C. Wang,” said the society’s president, Suzanne Pfeffer.  “Her work has made, and will continue to make, extraordinary contributions to the fundamental principles of molecular parasitology.”

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Bill Hathaway: william.hathaway@yale.edu, 203-432-1322