Ludwig MIT’s Richard Hynes among winners of the 2022 Lasker Award for his seminal work on integrins
Ludwig MIT’sRichard Hynes was named a winner of the Lasker Award for his discovery and subsequent research on integrins, a family of proteins that help cells adhere to each other and to the extracellular matrix and link the cell’s external environment to its cytoskeleton and signaling circuitry. Richard shared the prestigious award with two other scientists, Erkki Ruoslahti and Timothy Springer, whose independent work on integrins converged with his to launch a field of research of enormous importance to our understanding of everything from embryonic development to immunology to cancer. Examining the differences between proteins around normal and malignant cells in the early 1970s, Richard and Erkki Ruoslahti independently identified fibronectin as a component of the extracellular matrix found in abundance around normal cells, but not cancer cells. Richard also found evidence that this protein somehow linked to the protein skeleton of cells and later identified the receptor responsible for that linkage, naming it “integrin.” The three researchers, and several other scientists, went on to establish that integrins belong to a large family of proteins involved in countless biological processes involving cell adhesion, structure and motility. Richard’s lab has since extensively explored the role of integrins in cancer metastasis. View Richard’s acceptance remarks here.