COLD SPRING HARBOR LABElvis Is In The Room
At Awards Dinner
COLD SPRING HARBOR LAB
Elvis Is In The Room
At Awards Dinner
OBEL laureate Dr. James Watson, chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, presented the inaugural Double Helix Medals to three notables at a dinner at Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York.
Watson is a co-discoverer in 1953 of the DNA double helix. This is the unique structure of the DNA molecule which carries all of lifeís information. It is at the heart of the mission of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island, N.Y., where scientists pursue genetics research.
Emcee Phil Donahue called Watson "the man who altered the life sciences forever. Elvis is in the room!"
Meredith Vieira, co-host of NBCís Today, presented the first medal to Muhammad Ali, who suffers from Parkinsonís. Watson commented, "A lot of celebrities are not good role models. Muhammad Ali is a good role model. Heís great."
"Meredith," Aliís wife Lonnie said, "now that youíve declared your love for Muhammad, Iím not sure heíll come home with me tonight."
Singer Andrea Gruber said that the three-time world heavyweight boxing champ had been an idol since she was a young girl. "He will be, according to my mother, my third and final tattoo."
Watson presented a medal to Suzanne and Robert Wright, whose grandson was diagnosed with autism. They are co-founders of Autism Speaks. He is the chairman and chief executive of NBC Universal and vice chairman and executive officer of General Electric Company.
"As a premed student in college," Wright said, "I evolved into a very accomplished history major."
Inside Edition host Deborah Norville presented the third medal to Phillip Sharp, a Nobel laureate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He opened a new era in molecular biology relevant to cancer when he discovered RNA splicing in 1977. "I want to sequence you!" Norville declared.
CSHL president Bruce Stillman announced that the dinner raised $2.5 million "to further our mission in developing cures for cancer and other diseases."
"We will understand diseases like cancer and have an opportunity to cure them," Watson said. "With bipolar or attention deficit, you wonít send the child to a psychologist, which wonít do any good. We will check his DNA instead."