OHSU Researcher Elected to Royal Society

05/19/03    Portland, Ore.

Oregon Health & Science University researcher John Scott, Ph.D., a senior scientist in OHSU's Vollum Institute, has been elected to a fellowship in the Royal Society. The society was founded in 1660 in the United Kingdom and chartered by Charles II. The society is the world's oldest scientific academy and has 65 Nobel Prize winners in its membership. Members have included Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Francis Crick, James Watson and Stephen Hawking.

"Acceptance into this respected scientific fellowship is a tremendous honor for me," said Scott, an associate investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute who also holds a joint appointment in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the OHSU School of Medicine.

Each year the Royal Society awards 42 fellowships and foreign members. Scott is the second OHSU scientist to receive this honor. The first OHSU faculty member appointed to the society was Jack Kaplan, Ph.D., chairman of biochemistry and molecular biology in the OHSU School of Medicine. In addition to recognizing outstanding researchers worldwide with origins in the UK, the Royal Society publishes five peer-reviewed journals, supports scientists and research through grants, sponsors conferences and lectures, and leads public debate.

"The Vollum Institute would like to congratulate Dr. Scott for his election to the Royal Society and for years of outstanding scientific research which earned him this honor," said Richard Goodman, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Vollum Institute.

Scott's research pertains to cellular communications and the effect of hormones on this process. Recently his lab discovered a brain cell communications mechanism possibly linked to mental retardation. The research, which appeared in the Feb. 18 edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, centers on a key protein found in the brain called WAVE-1. Researchers found that animals lacking WAVE-1 have balance, motor, learning and memory deficits. These symptoms correlate with one form of mental retardation found in humans.

Scott earned his doctorate in biochemistry from Scotland's University of Aberdeen in 1983. He then became a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Washington and went on to become an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry at that institution. Scott joined the Department of Physiology and Biophysics and the Department of Biological Chemistry at the University of California at Irvine in 1988. He came to OHSU's Vollum Institute in 1989. In 1997 he was promoted to senior scientist at the Vollum and was appointed an associate investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.