Alan Hall, Chairman of the Cell Biology Program in the Sloan-Kettering Institute, has been honored with a 2006 Gairdner International Award. The Gairdner Foundation, which is based in Toronto, presents awards annually to recognize and reward outstanding biomedical scientists who have made original contributions to the understanding of human disease.
In addition, Dr. Hall has been named the incumbent of an Alfred P. Sloan Chair at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. This chair is one of four endowed in honor of the late Mr. Sloan, who was well known for his commitments to biomedical research, technological progress, and educational programs for medical care. Major funding provided through Mr. Sloan supported the establishment of Sloan-Kettering Institute in 1945.
Dr. Hall, who joined Sloan-Kettering Institute earlier this year, is responsible for uncovering much of what is known about several key proteins that control the pathways regulating cell motility and shape, as well as how cells’ internal structures (cytoskeletons) are organized. His research has focused on a family of proteins called GTPases, which act as molecular switches in signal transduction pathways and play key roles in determining the behavior of cells, including how they rearrange their cytoskeletons in response to external stimuli. This work has important implications for understanding how tumor cells become metastatic and spread throughout the body.