BAR HARBOR, Maine — A retired scientist at The Jackson Laboratory has won two international awards for his work in helping to identify chemical and genetic factors that contribute to appetite and obesity.
Dr. Douglas Coleman, 81, of Lamoine has been named a recipient of the Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Biomedicine and of the King Faisal International Prize in Medicine, officials with the Bar Harbor-based biomedical research organization recently announced. The Frontiers of Knowledge award is from the Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria bank of Spain and the King Faisal prize is from the Saudi Arabian King Faisal Foundation.
Coleman shares the prizes with Jeffrey Friedman, 59, of Rockefeller University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Friedman built upon Coleman’s work, identifying and naming the hormone leptin as a substance in the blood that regulates food intake and body weight. In recent years, Coleman and Friedman also have shared the 2009 Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine and the Lasker Award for their combined work on obesity research.
“I’m delighted and honored to be sharing these awards with Jeff Friedman,” Coleman said in a prepared statement released last week by Jackson Lab.
Organizers with the King Faisal Foundation indicated that the scientists’ work that led to the discovery of leptin “has had a major impact on our understanding of the biology of obesity” and added that it provides “more illuminating views of the endocrine system,” lab officials wrote in the release.
The Frontiers of Knowledge award includes a cash gift of approximately $540,000 that will be shared by Coleman and Friedman. The King Faisal award comes with a gold medal and a cash endowment of $100,000, lab officials added.
Coleman and Friedman are expected to travel to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in March to received the King Faisal prize and then to Bilbao, Spain in June for the Frontiers in Knowledge award.
Other awards won previously by Coleman include election to the National Academy of Sciences in 1998 and the 2005 Gairdner Foundation International Award.
The Jackson Lab is known internationally for its use of mice to research human disease and medical conditions. Each year it produces millions of specially bred laboratory mice that are used in similar studies all over the world. The lab employs more than 1,200 people in Bar Harbor and another 170 in Sacramento, Calif., and Farmington, Conn.
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