Bruce W. Stillman, president and CEO of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree at Clarkson University's spring 2018 Commencement on Saturday, May 12.
The degree was awarded for "his breakthroughs in furthering the understanding of DNA replication and how errors in this replication are involved in diseases ranging from cancer to rare genetic disorders, and for his discovery of the origin of replication complex -- the starting point for replication of genetic material."
“You are about to embark on your own journey … from Clarkson University to the rest of your life,” said Stillman in his remarks to the students. “You have little idea what lies ahead in the many years to come despite your best-made plans. But I trust by now you have learned to maximize your opportunities by seeking out smart people, by keeping your eyes open and your mind attuned to new ideas, by applying your talents and knowledge gained here to all aspects of your life, not just your work. You are now well equipped to make the most of what comes your way.”
Stillman's research focuses on the mechanism and regulation of duplication of DNA and chromatin in cells, a process that ensures accurate inheritance of genetic information from one cell generation to the next. His laboratory has pioneered the discovery of DNA replication proteins that control the process of DNA replication and synthesize new DNA and chromatin in chromosomes of proliferating cells.
A native of Australia, Stillman came to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow in 1979 and has been there ever since. He was promoted to the scientific staff in 1981 and was director of the Cancer Center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory from 1992-2016. In 1994, he succeeded Nobel laureate James D. Watson as director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and was appointed president in 2003.
Stillman has received many honors, including the Order of Australia, for his medical research. He has been elected to the Royal Society (UK), the National Academy of Sciences, the Australian Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
He has received a number of awards and prizes, including the Alfred P. Sloan Prize from the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation, the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University and the Herbert Tabor Research Award from The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He is also an advisor to universities, foundations, corporations and government agencies.
Stillman graduated with a bachelor of science degree with first class honors from the University of Sydney and a Ph.D. from the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University.