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Raphael Kopan, PhD

Raphael Kopan, PhD, the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor of Developmental Biology, is honored for his research contributions in the area of Notch signalling.

Kopan, also a professor of medicine, is among the world’s premier investigators in Notch signalling — a fundamental process that regulates cell proliferation and differentiation. Abnormalities in Notch signalling are implicated in many diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. Over the past 17 years, Kopan has contributed landmark discoveries elucidating the fundamental mechanisms of Notch activation, the critical enzymes involved in activation, and the roles of Notch in Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and normal skin, kidney and pancreas development.

Colleagues describe him as an »outstanding citizen» of team science who makes the whole better than the sum of its parts through his leadership, thoughtful judgment, insight, mentorship and support. Kopan serves on the editorial board of Developmental Cell and is a member of Faculty of 1000 Biology — a peer-nominated national group of leading scientists that compiles and evaluates the best scientific publications. Kopan was awarded the Mercus Singer Medal for furthering research in regeneration and developmental biology in 2004. He also has co-organized many prestigious international meetings and will chair the inaugural Gordon Conference on Notch Signalling in Development, Regeneration, and Disease in 2012.

Born in Israel, Kopan received his bachelor’s degree from Tel Aviv University in 1981, performed three years of military service and spent two years leading safari tours in Kenya. Kopan came to the United States to earn his doctoral degree from the University of Chicago in 1989. He joined the Washington University faculty in 1994 and became a professor in 2003. Kopan co-directs the university’s Molecular Imaging High-Throughput Screening Core.

Published: 01/19/2012