Public Release: 

Anita Roberts to deliver Excellence in Science lecture

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Bethesda, Maryland, February 15, 2005: Anita Roberts has been selected to receive the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Excellence in Science Award. Her award lecture, titled TGF-â-Journey of Discovery and Promise, will take place on Tuesday, April 5 at 8:30 a.m. at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Annual Meeting in San Diego.

Dr. Roberts joined the National Cancer Institute in 1976. She has achieved international acclaim for her work in growth factor research, having discovered and characterized, together with Dr. Michael Sporn, the cytokine transforming growth factor-â (TGF-â).

Growth factors are proteins that bind to receptors on cell surfaces to activate cellular proliferation and differentiation. Many growth factors are quite versatile, stimulating cellular division in numerous different cell types, while others are specific to a particular cell-type.

In the nearly 20 years since its discovery and initial characterization, TGF-â has emerged as the paradigmatic growth factor, defining the cell- and context-specific actions now attributed to many growth factors. TGF-â1 was the first of what is now known to be a large family of over 40 structurally related growth factors.

TGF-â is involved in wound healing and in the pathogenesis of diseases such as autoimmune disease, fibrosis, and cancer. New insights into the growth factor's role in these disease processes are now leading to the development of novel therapies based on interference with TGF-â, its receptor, or its downstream signaling partners. In her award lecture, Dr. Roberts will discuss TGF-â, some of the roles it plays in disease, and several therapeutic strategies based on the growth factor.

Dr. Roberts was recently named the 49th most cited scientist, worldwide, for the period 1982-2002 by the Institute for Scientific Information, making her the second most highly cited woman scientist. She was also among the first group of NIH scientists elected to the Senior Biomedical Research Service and was a past president of the Wound Healing Society. Dr. Roberts has authored over 330 articles and serves on numerous scientific advisory and editorial boards.

The Excellence in Science Award, sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company, recognizes outstanding achievement by women in biological science. All women who are members of one or more of the societies of FASEB are eligible for nomination. Past winners include Phyllis M. Wise, Joan Steitz, and Janet Roussant. The awardee must present an Excellence in Science Lecture at a scientific meeting of her choice at which time an unrestricted research grant is made by a representative of Eli Lilly and Company. The award also includes travel expenses, complimentary registration at the meeting, and a plaque in recognition of the award.


The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization with 12,000 members in the United States and internationally. Most members teach and conduct research at colleges and universities. Others conduct research in various government laboratories, nonprofit research institutions, and industry.

Founded in 1906, the Society is based in Bethesda, Maryland, on the campus of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. The Society's primary purpose is to advance the sciences of biochemistry and molecular biology through its publications, The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Journal of Lipid Research, Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, and the holding of scientific meetings.

For more information about ASBMB see our website:

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.