|Anita B. Roberts|
April 3, 1942|
|Died||May 26, 2006
|Other names||Anita Bauer Roberts|
Anita B. Roberts (April 3, 1942 – May 26, 2006) was a molecular biologist who made pioneering observations of a protein, TGF-β, that is critical in healing wounds and bone fractures and that has a dual role in blocking or stimulating cancers.
Roberts was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she grew up. In 1964, she graduated with her Bachelor degree in Chemistry at Oberlin College. She earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1968, working under Hector DeLuca on retinoid metabolism. She worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, a staff chemist at Aerospace Research Applications Center, and an instructor in chemistry at Indiana University Bloomington. Roberts joined the National Cancer Institute in 1976. From 1995 to 2004, she served as Chief of the institute's Laboratory of Cell Regulation and Carcinogenesis, and continued her research there until her death in 2006.
In the early-1980s, Dr. Roberts and her colleagues at the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland began to experiment with the protein transforming growth factor beta, commonly referred to as TGF-β.
Dr. Roberts isolated the protein from bovine kidney tissue and compared her results with TGF-β taken from human blood platelets and placental tissue. Institute researchers then began a series of experiments to determine the protein's characteristics. They discovered that it helps play a central role in signaling other growth factors in the body to heal wounds and fractures speedily.
TGF-β was later shown to have additional effects, including regulation of the heartbeat and the response of the eye to aging. In her continuing research, Dr. Roberts and others found that TGF-β inhibits the growth of some cancers while stimulating growth in advanced cancers, including cancers of the breast and lung.
Awards and recognition
Dr. Roberts was the recipient of several awards for her contributions to the field of science. These include:
- Leopold Griffuel Prize (2005)
- FASEB Excellence in Science Award (2005)
- Komen Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction (2005)
- Oransky, Ivan (July 1, 2006). "Anita B Roberts". The Lancet. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(06)68952-6.
- "Anita B. Roberts, 64, cancer researcher". The Washington Times.
- "Obituary". Oncogene. 2006. doi:10.1038/sj.onc.1209900.
- "Anita Roberts, 64, Molecular Biologist Who Studied a Key Protein, Dies". New York Times. June 2, 2006.
- "Wound Healing Society: Anita Roberts Award". Retrieved September 13, 2013.
- "American Academy of Arts and Sciences Book of Members" (PDF).
- "Awards, Appointments, Announcements" (PDF). Journal of the National Cancer Institute. May 4, 2005.
- "Anita Roberts to deliver Excellence in Science lecture". Feb 15, 2005.
- "Previous Brinker Award Winners".