Bruce William Stillman

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Bruce William Stillman
BruceStillmanCSHLPresidentLG.png
Born (1953-10-16)16 October 1953
Melbourne, Australia
Residence United States
Fields Biochemistry
Institutions Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Alma mater University of Sydney (B.Sc. [Hons. 1]), Australian National University (PhD)
Notable awards Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. Prize,[1] Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize

Bruce William Stillman, AO, FAA, FRS (born 16 October 1953, in Melbourne, Australia) is a biochemist and cancer researcher who has served as the Director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) since 1994 and President since 2003. He has simultaneously served as the Director of its NCI-designated Cancer Center since 1992. During his leadership, CSHL has been ranked as the No. 1 institution in molecular biology and genetics research by Thomson Reuters.[2] Stillman’s research focuses on how chromosomes are duplicated in human cells and in yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae; the mechanisms that ensure accurate inheritance of genetic material from one generation to the next; and how missteps in this process lead to cancer. For his accomplishments, Stillman has received numerous awards, including the Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. Prize in 2004[1] and the 2010 Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize,[3] both of which he shared with Thomas J. Kelly of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Life and career[edit]

Stillman was educated at Glen Waverley High School (1966-1969) and Sydney Boys High School (1970–71), then graduated with First Class honours from the University of Sydney, and earned his Ph.D. from the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University.

He began his career at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1979 with investigations into how DNA is copied, starting with studying DNA replication of human adenovirus as a model. He then began to study how the genome of simian virus 40 (SV40) is duplicated in cells. Eventually his research focused on how cellular chromosomes are duplicated and how the entire process is regulated in cells, studying the process primarily in the yeast S. cerevisiae and in human cells. This work provided key insights into how both virus and cellular oncoproteins manipulate cellular physiology to bring about oncogenic transformation.

One of his most significant achievements was the biochemical reconstitution with purified proteins of the complete replication of the SV40 DNA genome. This system utilized the virus-encoded T antigen that binds to the SV40 virus origin of DNA replication, the start site for DNA synthesis, coupled with purified human proteins,[4] many of them discovered by Stillman and his colleagues. These proteins include RPA, RFC, PCNA, and the discovery that multiple DNA polymerases participate in the process of copying DNA, often switching from one polymerase to the other.

Another major accomplishment was the discovery of the human Origin Recognition Complex (ORC), a key protein made up of six subunits that binds to cellular origins of DNA replication and coordinates the entire process of initiating a complete cycle of DNA replication throughout the entire cell genome. Soon after the discovery of ORC, Stillman’s group identified other initiation proteins that together form the pre-replication complex (pre-RC), which makes chromosomes competent for the subsequent initiation of DNA replication during the S phase of the cell cycle.[5][6][7] His group’s recent studies have revealed the intricate details of how the initiation of DNA replication is regulated throughout the cell cycle and the mechanisms that prevent DNA replication from occurring more than once during each cell cycle.

Stillman has also studied how the proteins associated with the cellular DNA are inherited as cells divide. The proteins that combine with DNA to organize the genome into a chromatin structure include histones. He developed a biochemical system to study DNA replication-coupled chromatin assembly in a test tube and discovered proteins such as Chromatin Assembly Factor-1 (CAF-1) that cooperate with the DNA replication machinery to assemble new histones onto the DNA. These studies resulted in understanding how chromatin is inherited.

Honors and awards[edit]

Professional activities[edit]

Stillman is a member of the Medical Advisory Board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and advises a number of other research organizations including the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at M.I.T, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia and the Lewis-Sigler Institute at Princeton University. He is past co-chair of the Board of Scientific Councilors of the National Cancer Institute, past vice-chair of the National Cancer Policy Board of the National Institute of Medicine and past member of the Board on Life Sciences of the National Research Council. He currently serves as a member of the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Advisors and is a member of the State University of New York Research Council.[8]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Cold Spring Harbor Scientist Bruce Stillman Awarded Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. Prize". Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. June 10, 2004. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "Top 10 Institutions in Molecular Biology and Genetics". Thomas Reuters. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  3. ^ "Bruce Stillman, PhD, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s president, wins 2010 Horwitz Prize for seminal work on DNA replication". Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Retrieved 3 December 2010. 
  4. ^ Waga, S.; Bauer, G. and Stillman B. (1994). "Reconstitution of complete SV40 DNA replication with purified replication factors". Journal of Biological Chemistry 269 (14): 10923–10934. PMID 8144677. 
  5. ^ Waga, S.; Stillman, B. (1998). "The DNA replication fork in eukaryotic cells". Annual Reviews of Biochemistry 67: 721–751. doi:10.1146/annurev.biochem.67.1.721. 
  6. ^ Bell, S.P.; Stillman, B. (1992). "ATP dependent recognition of eukaryotic origins of DNA replication by a multi-protein complex". Nature 357 (6374): 128–134. doi:10.1038/357128a0. PMID 1579162. 
  7. ^ Stillman, B. (1996). "Cell cycle control of DNA replication". Science 274 (5293): 1659–1664. doi:10.1126/science.274.5293.1659. PMID 8939847. 
  8. ^ "State University of New York Research Council".