The Jackson Laboratory honors three for research, philanthropy, volunteerism

Date: July 17, 2012
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Bar Harbor, Maine—At its annual awards dinner on July 13, The Jackson Laboratory honored a longtime JAX researcher and philanthropist, a respected physician and Laboratory supporter, and a pioneering mouse geneticist and environmental activist.

Professor Emeritus Douglas Coleman, Ph.D., received the Award for Philanthropy for his ongoing support of research and education at the Laboratory. Coleman’s 40-year research career at JAX focused on finding the genetic causes of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. His many honors include election to the National Academy of Sciences in 1998 and receipt of the 2005 Gairdner Foundation Award. He also was co-recipient with Dr. Jeffrey Friedman of Rockefeller University of both the 2009 Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine and the 2010 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award. Coleman retired in 1997.

In addition to his personal support of the Laboratory, Coleman used his Shaw Prize earnings to establish two $100,000 endowments in support of JAX research and education. The Douglas Coleman Research Fund supports investigators who are studying obesity and diabetes. The Beverly Coleman Memorial Fund, named in honor of Coleman’s late wife, funds young students and educational programs at the Laboratory.

The Award for Distinguished Service was presented to neurologist Robert Holtzman, M.D., who began his association with the Laboratory as a 14-year-old summer student in 1956. Holtzman chairs the New York Chapter of the National Council, the Laboratory’s network of supporters, and has hosted numerous chapter dinners and receptions on behalf of JAX.

For the last three years, Holtzman has secured funding with the World Jewish Congress Foundation to support two Israeli students in the JAX Summer Student Program. He currently is working with JAX faculty to develop a similar relationship with students from China.

The Award for Scientific Achievement went to geneticist Beverly Paigen, Ph.D., who joined the Laboratory in 1989. Paigen is recognized as a pioneer in using mice to study heart disease. She was an early adopter of computational biology and statistical genetics in her research and has been active in developing and presenting JAX educational programs.

Paigen also is renowned for her contributions to the Love Canal environmental controversy of the 1970s, for which she gathered scientific evidence exposing the high incidence of birth defects, cancer, miscarriages and other adverse human health impacts of the Love Canal toxic waste dump in New York. 

The awards dinner was part of a two-day Discovery Days program sponsored by the Laboratory’s National Council. More than 350 people attended portions of the program, including tours, presentations and exhibits about the Laboratory’s work.

The National Council was founded in 2007 and has chapters in Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania.

The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution based in Bar Harbor, Maine, with a facility in Sacramento, Calif., and a new genomic medicine institute in Farmington, Conn. It employs a total staff of more than 1,400. Its mission is to discover the genetic basis for preventing, treating and curing human disease and to enable research and education for the global biomedical community.


Joyce Peterson, 207-288-6058, The Jackson Laboratory

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