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Tan Honored with 2015 Faculty Scholar Medal

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2015 Faculty Scholar Medal recipient, Dr. Song Tan

Dr. Song TanApril 15, 2015 – Song Tan, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the Eberly College of Science at Penn State University Park Campus was one of five faculty members honored with the 2015 Penn State Faculty Scholar Medal.  Tan received the award for outstanding achievement in life and health sciences.

The award was established in 1980 to recognize scholarly or creative excellence represented by a single contribution or a series of contributions around a coherent theme. A committee of peers reviews nominations and selects candidates. 

Penn State News wrote,  “Tan’s work on the atomic structure of chromosomal regulatory proteins bound to nucleosomes has been called a “game-changer” by leading researchers and could hold clues to a cancer cure. Misregulation of the nucleosome — the fundamental unit of the nucleus and the means by which are genes are packed — is a major cause of cancer.

These findings provide fundamental knowledge and important implications for understanding diseases including autism, schizophrenia and intellectual disabilities.

“Tan’s discoveries are a great example of how truly exceptional science at the fundamental level always has deep ramifications for the human condition,” said a colleague.

Tan stands alone in his achievement. No other lab had been able to determine the atomic structure of a regulator attached to the nucleosome. Tan has done this twice. Nucleosomal research is particularly tricky. His lab is one of a few worldwide able to generate co-complexes with other proteins with regularity.

A colleague offered this analogy: “Tan has been discovering complete dinosaur fossils when others are discovering jawbones.”

His work accomplishes three feats — it sets the gold standard for determining all other regulator-nucleosome structures; it provides a much more useful framework for drug modeling; and it lends insight into fundamental biological questions.”

Other BMB faculty members recipients of the Faculty Scholar Medal include Teh-Hui Kao (1995), Ross Hardison (2000), Frank Pugh (2006) and Marty Bollinger (2009).

Read more about “Five professors honored with Faculty Scholar Medals, published by Penn State News.