Lander, Calof honored for rare disease breakthroughs
University of California, Irvine professors Anne Calof and Arthur Lander were honored as the 2016 Champions of Hope in science by Global Genes, a rare disease patient advocacy charity, at its fifth annual Tribute to Champions of Hope gala on Sept. 24. Calof and Lander are among the world’s leading researchers on Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, a disabling multisystem genetic disease that affects one in 10,000 children and killed their daughter Isabel. In 2004, they helped identify the causative gene for CdLS. This discovery has led to the development of tools for molecular diagnosis of CdLS and has spawned a large body of biomedical research on CdLS and related syndromes. As part of this effort, Calof, Lander and their UCI colleagues have created animal models of CdLS that are being used to find ways of preventing and treating this disorder. Their work has been recognized by the CdLS Foundation, and UCI has been designated a Cornelia de Lange Syndrome Center of Excellence. Calof is a professor of anatomy & neurobiology and developmental & cell biology, while Lander is the Donald Bren Professor of Developmental & Cell Biology and director of UCI’s Center for Complex Biological Systems.