Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) biochemist Billy Hudson, PhD, has been awarded the 2018 Distinguished Investigator Prize by the International Society for Matrix Biology for his contributions to the field of matrix biology.
The prize will be presented in October 2018 during the American Society for Matrix Biology Biennial Meeting in Las Vegas.
Hudson is the Elliott V. Newman Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt and director of the Center for Matrix Biology. The prize recognizes seminal basic science and medical discoveries by Hudson and his colleagues about the chemistry, pathology and evolution of collagen IV, an extracellular matrix protein.
The extracellular matrix binds cells together forming a functional tissue and influences cell behavior. The matrix plays important roles in organ development and function, wound repair, angiogenesis, cancer, diabetic complications, as well as tissue fibrosis and regeneration.
The prizes also recognizes Hudson’s commitment to education, particularly the Aspirnaut STEM pipeline program he and his wife, Julie Hudson, M.D., vice president for Medical Center Relations, established in 2007 and which has become a national model for training scientists, doctors and engineers.
“I am deeply honored to receive this prestigious award and will accept it on behalf of my students, fellows, collaborators and Aspirnauts,” said Hudson, who also is professor of Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology, and Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology.
Among other discoveries, Hudson and his colleagues determined that collagen IV is a key evolutionary innovation which enabled the assembly of a fundamental architectural unit of epithelial tissues — the basement membrane attached to polarized cells.
This innovation was crucial for the transition from single cells to multi-cellular tissues and the expansion and diversity of the animal kingdom. The discoveries also led to understanding the molecular basis of two kidney diseases — Goodpasture’s disease and Alport syndrome — which affect millions of patients worldwide.
Hudson is the co-author of over 225 scientific publications and 30 patents. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Previous honors include the Homer W. Smith Award from the American Society of Nephrology, the Senior Investigator Award from the American Society of Matrix Biology, the Stanley Cohen Award for Outstanding Contributions to Research from Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Earl W. Sutherland Prize from Vanderbilt University.