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General Motors Selects NIEHS Grantee for Mott Award

By Blondell Peterson
July 2005

General Motors named NIEHS grantee Gerald N. Wogan, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the 2005 Mott laureate at the 27th anniversary of the GM Cancer Research Awards.

Wogan was recognized for his studies related to Aflatoxin, a mold and food contaminant that acts with the hepatitis virus to cause liver cancer. The award included a gold medal and $250,000. By 2005, GM gave more than $51 million to cancer research.

"For more than 25 years, Wogan was instrumental in fostering the development of cutting edge research that led to the identification of some of the leading environmental risk factors for cancer," said Bill Suk, Division of Extramural Research and Training.

Suk said Wogan's role in identifying the mechanism by which Aflatoxin causes liver cancer likely saved numerous lives worldwide. Aflatoxin is often found on products like corn, peanuts and other crops in Africa and Asia.

In addition to teaching at MIT, Wogan served as head of the Department of Applied Biological Sciences, director of the Division of Toxicology and founding director of the Center for Environmental Health Sciences. He is also serving as a senior research fellow in the Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis at the National Cancer Institute and visiting professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences of Johns Hopkins University.

"Dr. Wogan is that rare breed of scientist who not only conducts outstanding research and publishes excellent papers, but also finds the time to mentor up-and-coming scientists," said Suk. "He probably has fostered a love of science to more than 200 scientists who are now in leadership positions across the country as well as internationally."

In addition to the Mott Award, GM presented the Charles F. Kettering Award and the Alfred P. Sloan Jr. The prizes were named in honor of three distinguished former General Motors executives who were particularly interested in health sciences. The three award recipients were also guest speakers at the June 15 NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture in the Masur Auditorium.

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