Stephen Goff Awarded Retrovirology Prize

Dr. Stephen P. Goff
© BioMed Central

The Retrovirology prize, which will be granted annually, recognises a mid-career retrovirologist aged 45 to 60. The inaugural prize, named the M. Jeang Retrovirology prize, is supported through a donation from the Ming K. Jeang Foundation, an educational foundation based in Houston, Texas.

Stephen Goff, 53, is a prolific and highly accomplished scientist. He has published over 250 scientific articles. He was one of the first investigators to clone a functional copy of a retroviral genome, and to use recombinant DNA methods to study viral replication. Over the last two decades Dr. Goff has developed and exploited the Moloney murine leukaemia virus as a genetic system.

One of his most important results was the definition of the functional domains of the viral pol gene, and the seminal discovery of a viral function, now termed integrase, used to insert viral DNA into the host genome. Goff was also the first to clone the v-abl oncogene and c-abl protooncogene; two important findings which contributed to the development of the antitumour drug Gleevec.

In choosing the prize winner, the Retrovirology Editors "considered more than just scientific excellence, and sought to identify the rare individual who is both an outstanding researcher and a selfless mentor". Indeed, Goff speaks on mentoring as an important aspect of science, "I hope that I will be remembered as someone who trained a large number of active and productive scientists - at last count I have graduated 25 students and trained about the same number of fellows. I try to give my students considerable freedom to explore new avenues, to fail and succeed, and so to learn by experience what is worthwhile and what is too risky. I try to encourage optimism, self-motivation, and give some sense of the excitement we all have in what we do."; Source: BioMed Central