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Nobel Prize Winner Craig Mello To Be Honored at 7th Annual University of Massachusetts Night at the Boston Pops

This evening more than 2,200 alumni, students, faculty and friends of the University of Massachusetts will participate in the 7th annual "University of Massachusetts Night at the Pops" at Boston Symphony Hall.

Just prior to the concert, University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson will present the university's highest honor, the President's Medal, to Dr. Craig C. Mello of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, co-recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

"Craig Mello's discovery of RNA interference, along with his research colleague Dr. Andrew Z. Fire of Stanford University, holds the potential for treatment and possible cures for many of the most devastating diseases faced by people throughout the world. The results of his creativity, dedication, tenacity and skill have shone a very bright spotlight on the high quality of research being conducted on all five campuses of the University of Massachusetts," said President Wilson.

He added, "Less than 10 years after the publication of the discovery, RNAi has swept through laboratories around the world. In countries across the globe and at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, researchers are taking full advantage of RNAi technology to speed investigation into a variety of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, Lou Gehrig's Disease and HIV/AIDS."

University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees Chairman Stephen P. Tocco stated, "The increasing numbers of students applying to University of Massachusetts campuses each year - and the tremendous growth of our UMassOnline program - are the most convincing evidence that this University is heading in the right direction and providing quality higher education opportunities. The University of Massachusetts is well on the way to becoming one of the top universities in the nation."

Previous winners of the university's President's Medal include: U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy; former General Electric Chairman and CEO Jack Welch, an alumnus of the Amherst campus; Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, an alumnus of the Boston campus; the late Massachusetts Congressman John Joseph Moakley and University of Medical School benefactors Jack and Shelley Blais.

Also featured during the evening will be University of Massachusetts performing artists Christina Vaughn of the Boston campus, Candida Rose of the Dartmouth campus, pianist Dan Bolton of the Lowell campus, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Marching Band and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell Marimba Band.

The University of Massachusetts educates more than 58,000 students each year and more than 220,000 of the university's nearly 368,000 alumni/ae live and work in the Commonwealth.

Note:  Photos from the Boston Pops reception will be available by 5:30 p.m.

Contact:  Bill Wright, 617.287.7065


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