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Obama taps UW-Madison biochemist to head science medal panel

August 4, 2015 By Terry Devitt

President Barack Obama has named University of Wisconsin–Madison biochemistry Professor Judith Kimble to chair the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science.

Photo: Judith Kimble

Judith Kimble

Established by Congress in 1959, the National Medal of Science is a presidential award given to individuals “deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical or engineering sciences.” In 1990, Congress expanded the recognition to include the social and behavioral sciences.

The President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science awards the medal annually. Since its inception, 11 UW–Madison faculty members have received the award, which is the nation’s highest honor for achievement and leadership in science and technology.

Kimble, who served on the committee from 2012 to 2014, is the UW–Madison Vilas Professor of Biochemistry and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Kimble studies the fundamental controls of animal development using the model worm Caenorhabditis elegans. Among her many research contributions is the discovery of a stem cell niche that controls stem cell maintenance.