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也谈谈今年的诺贝尔奖和钱永健教授 精选

已有 7804 次阅读 2008-10-9 06:44 |个人分类:科海江湖|系统分类:观点评述| 诺奖情节

又到了诺贝尔奖开奖的季节,有关诺贝尔奖的消息和获奖科学家的名单不断传来,作为一个在诺贝尔的故乡读过博士,参加过2次诺贝尔奖頒奖仪式的人来说,我的诺奖情节是很重的!在11月陆续宣布完获奖名单后,12月初便是瑞典的诺贝尔奖节日和圣露西娅节日(各地各学校都会选一位美女作为当年的露西娅),12月10日斯德哥尔摩頒奖仪式完后,获奖者便会被邀请到包括我的母校在内的各个大学做演讲,读博士的几年,我每年都能听到诺贝尔化学奖和医学/生理奖的科学家的精彩报告。

今年的诺奖获奖名单陆续公布了,首先是医学奖,两位发现人类免疫缺陷病毒(HIV)爱滋病病毒的法国巴斯德研究所的科学家Françoise Barré-Sinoussi 和Luc Montagnier和发现人类乳突淋瘤病毒(HPV)导致子宫颈癌的德国癌症研究中心的科学家Harald zur Hausen获奖。这也是几年来的第一次,医学或生理奖与美国无缘,美国似乎华尔街沦陷,诺贝尔医学奖也没份儿了。诺贝尔奖也又一次与被中文媒体炒做成科学圣殿的哈佛大学擦肩而过!哈佛大学已经10来年与诺贝尔奖无缘了,虽然她依然在众多的大学排名中名列第一,还是全世界最富的大学,当然很多获奖者都是哈佛大学的毕业生。两位法国病毒学家的获奖更使全世界正直的科学家松了一口气!当年美国病毒学者中的大腕Robert Gallo博士不仅用法国人的照片发文章, 还用法国人的样品测序, 测出来说是自己的样品而发现了人类免疫缺陷病毒(HIV)爱滋病病毒品.----这些事其实学术界的人都清楚。我当年做研究生时就对这种Robert Gallo这种行为感到不解,上苍有眼,诺贝尔奖没有给予他。当然还是有很多人为他而鸣不平的...请看英文媒体的评论:

Twenty-five years after the discovery of the virus that causes AIDS, two French researchers were awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine yesterday for their role in that scientific breakthrough.

Perhaps more notable than who won the award is who did not: Dr. Robert C. Gallo, the University of Maryland virologist who has long been credited as a co-discoverer of the human immunodeficiency virus and whose early work led to a blood test for HIV that is believed to have saved millions of lives.

Though many in the field said they thought that a long-simmering debate over Gallo's exact role in the initial discovery had been settled and that Gallo and the French team should share credit, the Nobel committee apparently felt differently. Some scientists said yesterday that Gallo deserved to at least split medicine's highest honor.

"The people who won the prize are very deserving," said Dr. John E. Niederhuber, director of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, where Gallo did his AIDS research. "But it seems strange to have left Bob out."

Acknowledging that Gallo had "done a lot of other work" in the field, Joernvall noted that he and the two French scientists now "agree that the discovery was made in Paris." But Montagnier, who has been a colleague and rival of Gallo's for decades, said the American researcher should have been recognized.

"It is certain that he deserved this as much as us two," Montagnier told the Associated Press in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where he is attending an international AIDS conference.

Gallo, who runs the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland's School of Medicine, told an AP reporter who woke him at home early yesterday that he was "disappointed." He later left for South Africa and could not be reached for further comment, but he released a statement congratulating the French scientists.

Colleagues said Gallo was besieged with e-mails and phone calls from scientists around the world, many complaining that an injustice had been done.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, said the Nobel Prize tends to be given to those who first identify a new discovery.

"I don't think it's a critique of Gallo. It's a statement about the very first observation that is made. This is how they decide," he said. "They generally make their decisions based on what they judge to be the first seminal observation as opposed to what came from that discovery. That's their judgment. "It does not detract from the contributions that Dr. Gallo has made."

The Nobel Prize might not put to rest what at times has been a bitter scientific feud spanning two continents. And Gallo, while seen yesterday in some circles as a victim, has often been a less than sympathetic character, seen as abrasive and self-promoting.

In the early 1980s, Gallo, whose research at NCI had focused on cancer-causing retroviruses, and Montagnier, at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, were each working on isolating the AIDS virus. In 1983, Montagnier identified a virus he called LAV but was unable to prove it caused AIDS. Gallo, nearly a year later, published a paper on his virus, called HTLV-3, establishing that it caused AIDS. Gallo is credited with being the first to grow the virus in a lab, which paved the way for HIV testing and the screening of donated blood.

But a controversy erupted soon after Gallo's publication. There were allegations that Gallo's virus was actually Montagnier's and that he had improperly used it without credit to the Frenchman for first isolating the virus.

The dispute triggered investigations by the National Institutes of Health and by Congress. There was a lawsuit. It was finally settled in 1987 by a highly unusual agreement between the United States and France, with a joint announcement by President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Jacques Chirac.

"I was on the original committee that examined the evidence against Gallo," said Edmund Tramont, who now directs the NIAID's division of AIDS. "We examined all the data and came to the unequivocal conclusion that he did all the work on his own. And that what he discovered and what he wrote, that HIV is a retrovirus that infects T-cells, that it was the cause of AIDS was unequivocal.

"He had in his lab previous work that was necessary to isolate the virus and others followed in his footsteps and duplicated what he had done."

今年的诺贝尔物理奖授予了三位日本(裔)物理学家:美国芝加哥大学费米实验室名誉教授南部阳一郎、日本筑波高能加速器研究机构名誉教授小林诚和日本京都大学汤川理论物理研究所名誉教授益川敏英。这也给了中国科学家当头一棒,我们中国现在不是已是培养博士的世界第一了吗,都超越了美国了,而且,在美国获得博士的人中以中国学生居多。为什么中国人离注重科学原创的诺贝尔奖遥遥无期呢!?至此,日本已经有15名诺贝尔奖获得者,而中国依然是空白。我们中国的科学家们脸红不红呢.....

2008年度诺贝尔化学奖授予美国日裔科学家下村修(Osamu Shimomura)、美国科学家马丁·查尔菲(Martin Chalfie),以及美国华裔科学家钱永健。他们三人在发现和研究绿色荧光蛋白(GFP)方面有突出成就。来自美国海洋生物实验室的下村修和哥伦比亚大学的马丁·查尔菲分别出生于1928年和1947年。

美国华裔钱永健教授1952年出生于纽约,现为美国科学院院士、医学院院士双院士,加州大学圣迭戈分校化学及药理学两系教授,是中国著名科学家钱学森的堂侄。他发明多色莹光蛋白标记技术,为细胞生物学和神经生物学发展带来一场革命。

钱永健教授的获奖是这几年科学界和媒体都看好的事情。饶毅教授已预测了钱永健会得诺贝尔化学奖,美国Thomson Reuters及英国博彩网站立博率先预测结果和开出赔率也预测了钱永健会得诺贝尔化学奖。在化学和生物学界,提起钱永健这个名字,许多不熟悉中文的人,都会觉得陌生,但是提到罗杰钱(Roger Tsien),就无人不知,无人不晓了。他在神经生物学,细胞生物学和化学生物学上的贡献,使得他年年都是诺贝尔化学奖或医学奖的热门人选,今年终于花落自家,又一次让中国人感到欣慰。

钱永健1952年出生于纽约,后来全家搬到与纽 约相距不远的新泽西州李文斯顿,在那里上学长成。钱家的家谱,似乎就是一本工程师的花名册。他的舅父,曾是麻省理工学院教授,他的堂叔,则是中国导弹之父,大名鼎鼎的钱学森,由此让人不得不相信,聪明也是遗传的。

钱永健年少时患有哮喘病,课余时间不能像兄长那样在外面跑来跑去,很多时间只能呆在室内。十六岁那一年,他以研究金属与硫氰化合物结合方式的论文,获得西屋天才少年科学奖的第一名,并得到全国荣誉奖学金进哈佛大学主修化学和物理。二十岁自哈佛毕业,钱永健得到了马歇尔奖学金,像他的哥哥钱永佑一样,飘洋过海,来到剑桥大学生理系跟随阿德然教授读博士。阿德然教授是世界著名的肌肉电 生理学教授,也是一位世袭的伯爵,真正的英格兰绅士,他知道钱永健的潜力,他也知道钱永健的兴趣是在神经生物学方面,于是,经过一番摸索,钱永健充分应用他的化学特长,发明了钙染料技术,可以直接标记观察活体细胞内钙离子信号的流动和变化,为活体细胞内心好传导和功能研究,随后,他又通过遗传工程的方法,发明了多色莹光蛋白标记技术,为细胞生物学和神经生物学的发展带来了一场革命。最近几年,他又致力于应用细胞渗透肽的莹光标记技术,来发现观察癌细胞,希望能为癌症的诊断治疗带来一场革命。

翻开钱永健教授在加州大学圣迭戈分校的网页,可以看到他的实验室是拥有20多人由科学家,博士后,博士生和技术人员组成的团队,依染活跃在科学的前沿,发表着Nature-Protocol,Nature-Method, PNAS等著名杂志的原创性文章和Science,Nature-Protocol和Methods in Enzymology 等杂志书籍上的综述性文章。钱永健教授的科研文章不下几百篇,他的科学工作真是不仅多产,更是开创性和革命性的工作。钱教授手下很多学生都成了名校的Faculty,像来自台湾的Alice Ting博士现在已是MIT化学系的副教授,Zhang Jin博士也是霍普金斯大学神经科学系的助教授。Robert E. Campbell博士是加拿大阿尔伯塔大学的助教授。钱教授最得意的学生恐怕是近年来被麻省理工学院评为顶尖青年科学家之一的王雷,这位来自北大的学子现在是Salk(索克研究所)的助教授,研究工作相当前沿。

每一年的诺贝尔奖获奖名单下来后,中国人只要是关心科学的人不免都感到心凉和无奈!盘望和期待着何时才有中国科学家获奖的一天。其实以海外华人频频获奖的概率和中国巨大的人口基数和智力库来论,中国人获奖真是指日可待的。但是如果看看国内科研的浮夸,虚假和缺少原创的惨酷现状,我们不得不苦笑,中国人获奖的那一天还是需要等待一些年的!


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