Molecular biologist Michael Green dies at 69

Michael Green, a cellular and molecular biologist, died suddenly on February 10 at the age of 69. His work on the mechanisms of gene regulation in RNA, in particular pre-mRNA splicing, and their application to diseases such as cancer laid much of the foundation for what is known about the onset of disease at the molecular level.

Green was born on January 20, 1954 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When he was a small child, the family moved to Missouri because his virologist father, Maurice Green, accepted a professorship at St. Louis University School of Medicine. His mother, Marilyn Glick Green, was a housewife. This early exposure to scientific research inspired Michael and his two siblings to embark on their own scientific careers: his sister Wendy became a pediatrician and his brother Eric is the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). . . Michael’s research career began when he was a teenager working in his father’s laboratory.

Green remained in the Midwest during his undergraduate years, earning a degree in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 1974. He attended Washington University in St. Louis for his graduate studies, focusing on adenovirus genomics in tumors. He obtained his doctorate in biochemistry as well as his doctorate in medicine in 1981.

He then moved to the East Coast, completing a two-year post-doctorate at Harvard University before becoming a faculty member in 1984. There he focused on transcription in a tumor environment, concentrating ultimately on pre-mRNA splicing for many years. This splicing removes introns from RNA before translation and dictates how a gene will be expressed. This flexible form of expression helps eukaryotic organisms get more bang for their buck when it comes to the amount of information crammed into their genome, but it’s also implicated in certain diseases.

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Green left Harvard in 1990 to become a professor at the nearby University of Massachusetts (UMass) Chan School of Medicine, according to the school’s report. tribute at the Green light. Four years later, he became a scholar at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and began a series of leadership roles at UMass, including MD/PhD Program Director, Chair of the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Cancer Biology and co-director of Li Weibo. Institute for Rare Diseases Research, according to a biography that UMass provided to The scientist. Green left HHMI in 2018 to become vice provost for strategic research initiatives at UMass.

“Michael was one of the most tenacious, laser-focused people I’ve ever known,” said Eric Green. The scientist. “When he was interested in something (scientific or otherwise), he did everything to study it and/or appreciate it. It is this trait that made him such a remarkable and accomplished biomedical researcher and, later in his career, an institutional leader.

In addition to his academic activities, he has also consulted with private biotechnology companies. He has filed 15 patents related to new therapeutics and co-founded three pharmaceutical companies aimed at treating rare genetic diseases.

Green has received numerous honors throughout his career, including election to the National Academy of Sciences (2014), the National Academy of Medicine (2015), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2018 ).

Outside of his scientific work, Green enjoyed fishing and playing chess. He is survived by his wife and siblings.

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