J. Michael Bishop
UCSF Chancellor J. Michael Bishop, MD, has been named a recipient of the 2003
National Medal of Science, the nation's highest honor for science and
Bishop was among eight winners announced on Monday (Feb. 14) by President
George W. Bush.
The honorees will receive the medals at a White House ceremony on March 14.
The National Medal of Science honors individuals in a variety of fields for
pioneering scientific research that has led to a better understanding of the
world, as well as to the innovations and technologies that give the United
States its global economic edge. The National Science Foundation administers
the award, established by Congress in 1959.
Bishop, who is also the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor,
University Professor, and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at UCSF,
began his research career working on the replication of poliovirus. But soon
after arriving at UCSF in 1968, he shifted his attention to Rous sarcoma virus,
hoping to explore the fundamental mechanisms of tumorigenesis. In 1970, he was
joined by Harold Varmus.
Together, they directed the research that led to the discovery of
proto-oncogenes -- normal genes that can be converted to cancer genes by
damage. This work eventually led to the recognition that all cancer probably
arises from damage to normal genes, and provided new strategies for the
detection and treatment of cancer. Bishop has devoted his research to the study
of proto-oncogenes -- their functions in normal cells and the manner in which
they become cancer genes.
Bishop and Varmus won the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. They also
won the 1982 Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research for their
Bishop has served as member and chair of the National Cancer Advisory Board and
is currently a member of the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National
Institutes of Health.
He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of
Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he holds honorary
degrees from Gettysburg College, Miami University, Rochester University and
He continues to teach medical students and supervise a research team studying
the molecular pathogenesis of cancer. He is the author of more than 300
research publications and reviews, and of the book How to Win the Nobel Prize:
An Unexpected Life in Science,
published by Harvard University Press.
Along with Bishop, two other UC scientists were named Monday as 2003 National
Medal of Science Laureates: R. Duncan Luce, of UC Irvine, in the field of
behavioral or social sciences; and John M. Prausnitz, UC Berkeley, in
NSF Press Release - President Names Laureates of the 2003 National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology
J Michael Bishop - Autobiography