News Release: Research, School of Medicine

Feb. 4,  2009

Emory Geneticist Stephen Warren Awarded Jacob's Ladder International Research Prize

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Jacob's Ladder, the Canadian Foundation for the Control of Neurodegenerative Disease, has awarded Stephen T. Warren, PhD, the ninth Annual Norman Saunders International Research Prize. Warren is the William Patterson Timmie professor and chair of the Department of Human Genetics at Emory University School of Medicine. He also is a professor of biochemistry and pediatrics.

Each year Jacob's Ladder has presented the research prize to remarkable scientists who are leaders in the advancement of understanding and treating genetic diseases.  This year’s award will be presented on Feb. 11 at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Warren's work focuses on understanding the causes of mental retardation and developmental handicap. He led the international team of scientists who in 1991 discovered the gene responsible for fragile X syndrome, the leading cause of inherited mental retardation. The breakthrough has led to the development of diagnostic tests for the syndrome and its carriers as well as the identification and study of possible therapies.

Warren's discoveries hold great promise for solving the mysteries of developmental delays, mental disorders and autism. He and his colleagues maintain one of the largest federally funded fragile X research programs in the country.

Among his numerous awards, Warren has received the William Allan Award from the American Society of Human Genetics, the highest international award in human genetics, and the William Rosen Research Award from the National Fragile X Foundation.  He is a past president of the American Society of Human Genetics. In 2004 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, considered one of the highest honors in medicine.


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include schools of medicine, nursing, and public health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; the Emory Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.3 billion budget, 17,000 employees, 2,300 full-time and 1,900 affiliated faculty, 4,300 students and trainees, and a $4.9 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

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