Geneticist Stanley Gartler receives national honor

The American Society of Human Genetics has named Stanley M. Gartler, professor emeritus of medicine and genome sciences at the University of Washington, as recipient of the 2016 Victor A. McKusick Leadership Award.

The award recognizes individuals whose professional achievements have fostered and enriched the development of human genetics as well as its assimilation into the broader context of science, medicine and health. Gartler will receive the award, which includes a plaque and $10,000 prize, on Oct. 18, at organization's annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Gartler has worked at the UW for nearly 50 years. He was a founding member of the Division of Medical Genetics in the Department of Medicine in 1957, and a founding member of the Department of Genetics in 1959. He has spent much of his career studying X chromosome inactivation and the genetics of somatic cells, but also has made key discoveries and connections outside of these areas.
“Dr. Gartler is a giant in the field of human genetics and has conducted groundbreaking, cross-cutting research since the 1960s,” said Dr. Gail Jarvik, a UW colleague and member of the society's board of directors. “He has a talent for learning the details of a particular genetic system and then applying this knowledge outside of that system, to answer questions no one else thought to ask,” she said. 
By studying glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase as a genetic marker in the 1960s, Gartler demonstrated that most human tumors were clonal, originating from a single cell. A few years later, when using markers to study crossing over in cultured cell lines, he found that many of the markers for different cell lines were identical, which led him to discover extensive HeLa contamination in many of these long-established lines. Using a similar, interdisciplinary approach, Gartler has worked with reproductive medicine specialists to address fundamental questions about fetal oocytes and the fate of the X chromosome in triploid cells.  
The organization also recognizes Gartler’s contributions to the society and broader research community. He was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1962 and to the National Academy of Sciences in 1989, and is an honorary fellow at the American College of Human Genetics.


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