The highly prestigious March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology is awarded to researchers whose work has contributed to our understanding of the science that underlies birth defects and Professor Jacobs joins a number of eminent scientists and several Nobel Laureates who have previously won the award.
Dr John Crolla , Deputy Director and Head of Cytogenetic Services at Salisbury District Hospital said: “Professor Jacobs is already a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America which is an outstanding achievement in itself, but to follow this up with the March of Dimes Prize is exceptional. This new award recognises more than 50 years of outstanding research, which is still being carried out at the Wessex Regional Genetics Laboratory at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust in conjunction with the University of Southampton School of Medicine. It also marks an illustrious career which has also earned Professor Jacobs a Fellowship of the Royal Society and an OBE in the UK.”
Professor Jacobs started to make her mark in 1959, when she made a number of key discoveries which provided a link between chromosomes and abnormal human development. Her career has taken her to many parts of the world and her research has included the contribution of chromosome abnormalities to learning difficulties, miscarriages and behaviour. In 1988, she took up the post of Director of the Wessex Regional Genetics Laboratory at Salisbury District Hospital, where she has led a wide range of groundbreaking research projects that have provided a greater understanding of a number of complex genetic conditions. In 2010 she was a elected as a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, which is given to few scientists outside the USA.
Professor Patricia Jacobs said: “ It is a great honour to receive the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology and a great pleasure to be rewarded for the research I have so much enjoyed carrying out all my working life.”
Notes to editors:
1. The nature of Professor Jacob’s work
Professor Jacobs is one of the great originals of the science of chromosomes or “cytogenetics”. She has made a string of seminal discoveries throughout her working life and a much fuller account of the first 25 years is available in her Allan Award address of 1982 (see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1685430/pdf/ajhg00359-0009.pdf).
Since that time she has continued with research into fragile X syndrome, the parental origin of chromosome anomalies, structural abnormalities of the X chromosome, X-inactivation, uniparental disomy and imprinting, morbidity and mortality in patients with chromosome anomalies and the effects on patients of additional sex chromosomes.
2. The National Academy of Sciences (USA)
The Academy membership is composed of approximately 2,100 members and 380 foreign associates, of whom nearly 200 have won Nobel Prizes. Members and foreign associates of the Academy are elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research; election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honours that can be accorded a scientist or engineer.
Further details of the history and work of the National Academy of Sciences can be found on the web site at http://www.nasonline.org/site/PageServer
3. The March of Dimes (USA)
March of Dimes is an American health charity whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. It was founded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 3 January 1938.
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