Arrowsmith Named AAAS Fellow

Nov 23, 2015
Carolyn Morris

Professor Cheryl ArrowsmithProfessor Cheryl Arrowsmith Medical Biophysics professor Cheryl Arrowsmith has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). As Chief Scientist at the Structural Genomics Consortium, Arrowsmith enables the research community to benefit from open-access science.

“This is a great honour,” says Arrowsmith. “This award stresses the importance of open-access research in the advancement of science.”

Arrowsmith studies the proteins that regulate how genes are turned on and off within cells, a field called ‘epigenetics’. While these proteins are essential to normal human health and development, they can go awry in certain diseases, such as cancer. Through the Structural Genomics Consortium, Arrowsmith collaborates with pharmaceutical companies to develop drug-like inhibitors to these “rogue” proteins, to test which proteins might prove to be good targets for future drugs. These inhibitors, called “chemical probes”, are then made available to any researcher who wants to use them, with no strings attached, to enable more discoveries.

“This way these really useful drug discovery tools can get into the community,” she says. “They can be used to accelerate the discovery and development of new medicines more quickly than if we or the pharmaceutical industry were to try to do it alone without sharing.”

Arrowsmith joined the Faculty of Medicine’s department of Medical Biophysics in 1991. She also serves as professor at the Banting and Best Department of Medical Research and is a Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. She holds a Canada Research Chair in Structural Genomics and has received numerous awards for her work.

“This is a prestigious and well-deserved honour,” says Faculty of Medicine Dean Trevor Young. “Cheryl has been doing incredible work over the past decade in open-access science with the Structural Genomics Consortium – work that is advancing scientific discovery and development of new treatments.”

The AAAS seeks to "advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people." Arrowsmith will be formerly inducted as a Fellow at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington this February.

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