Society announces new Honorary Fellow : Prof E C Friedberg

Oct 10, 2012 Comments Off on Society announces new Honorary Fellow : Prof E C Friedberg by

This rare announcement took place at the Society’s Annual Dinner, Induction of Fellows and Medal Awards evening which was held on Tuesday, 25th September in Durban

Professor Errol Clive Friedberg is recognized internationally as a premier investigator in the field of DNA repair. His early work on purification and characterization of a novel class of enzymes called DNA glycosylases from E. coli bacteriophage T4 represented a major technical breakthrough in the field and presently, the phage T4 UV endonuclease is a widely used dimer-specific enzyme probe.Friedberg at desk

He and his colleagues have contributed a number of fundamental insights into the molecular biology of nucleotide excision repair (NER) in eukaryotic cells. His laboratory was the first to demon-strate that the endonuclease activities that specifically cut DNA- carrying sites of bulky base damage such as pyrimidine dimers are, in fact, junction-specific endo-nucleases that recognize single-strand/duplex junctions in DNA generated by partial denaturation of the DNA duplex during the process of NER.  An identical mechanism of DNA incision has been shown to operate in human cells.   Turning to aspects of DNA repair in higher eukaryotes including human and mouse models, Friedberg made a signal contribution by cloning the CSA gene, one of two mutations which result in the severe developmental and DNA repair disorder, Cockayne syndrome.  In addition, he generated several mouse models of xeroderma pigmentosum.

Dr. Friedberg completed his pathology training at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He joined the faculty of the Department of Pathology at Stanford University and established and served as Director of the Graduate Program in Cancer Biology, one of the first in the nation. In 1990, he assumed the Chair of Pathology at the University of Texas at Dallas, a post he still holds. He has published over 400 original papers in peer-reviewed journals, numerous review articles and book chapters. He is the current Editor-in-Chief of the journal DNA Repair and the senior author of three editions of the standard text in the field entitled DNA Repair and Mutagenesis. In addition he has published a history of the DNA repair field and, recently, an authorized biography of the South African-born Nobel laureate, Sydney Brenner.

Dr Friedberg is an elected Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists and is the recipient of the prestigious Rous-Whipple Award for the year 2000 from the American Society for Investigative Pathology, and the Lila Gruber Honour Award for Cancer Research from the American Academy of Dermatology in 2007. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2002 and he is presently a member of the board of the newly created Sydney Brenner Institute for Molecular Biology at Wits.

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