The Excellence Awards - 2000

Excellence in Research
Marlene Belfort

Marlene Belfort (Biomedical Sciences)

Belfort, who joined the University in 1985, is a full professor in the molecular genetics track of the Department of Biomedical Sciences, School of Public Health. An internationally known molecular geneticist, she is the only University at Albany faculty member who has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Belfort received her Ph.D. in molecular biology at the University of California at Irvine, mentored by Dan Wulff.

Within a very few years of arriving in Albany as a junior investigator at the Wadsworth Center, she and her colleagues identified the first intron, or intervening sequence, in a prokaryote. Later she discovered that these introns move from place to place on the genome. Then she elucidated the different molecular pathways in which introns splice and move by recruiting proteins of unusual structure and function. This work is leading to the use of introns in biotechnology and medicine. The biomedical field is an area of tremendous growth, with its potential to discover new treatments for disease and to create new pharmaceuticals.

Her excellence is further demonstrated in her mentorship and placement of Ph.D. students in top positions in the field. Her curriculum vitae provides evidence of strong grant support and a prolific publication record. In addition to her academic achievements, Belfort directs one of the nationís leading research and public health centers in genetics, at Wadsworth Center.

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