Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, September 11, 2008

OA advocate wins $250,000 Heinz Award

Molecular biologist honored with $250,000 Heinz Award, press release, September 9, 2008.
... Dr. Joseph DeRisi, 38, of San Francisco, Howard Hughes Medical Investigator and professor of biochemistry at the University of California, San Francisco, and one of the world's foremost researchers in the application of molecular genomics to the study of infectious disease, is among five distinguished Americans selected to receive one of the $250,000 [Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment] awards, presented by the Heinz Family Foundation.

"Joe DeRisi ennobles the field of science not only by way of his pioneering advancements in the laboratory but by virtue of the altruistic and caring nature with which he carries out his work," said Teresa Heinz, chairman of the Heinz Family Foundation. "As a scientist, Dr. DeRisi has made breakthrough discoveries that have provided clarity and insight into the detection of some of the world's most threatening viruses, and his work in finding a cure for malaria offers hope to the hundreds of millions of people afflicted annually by the disease. As a humanitarian, he has distinguished himself as a generous and tireless advocate for the free and open sharing of scientific research. ..."

... Dr. DeRisi pioneered the development and use of the ViroChip, a band-aid-sized glass wafer that contains a microarray of 22,000 DNA sequences from more than 1,300 viral families. This "diagnostics on a chip" enables scientists to not only quickly and accurately identify existing viruses, but also to detect new viruses that could emerge as pandemic threats.

Befitting his commitment to Open Access publishing within the scientific arena, Dr. DeRisi has not pursued a patent for the ViroChip, allowing researchers around the world to use the invention for free. ...
See also Jonathan Eisen, who gives DeRisi his Open Access Pioneer Award.

See also our previous post on DeRisi.