A Nobel Prize candidate at CT’s Jackson Lab?

Charles Lee

The Jackson Laboratory

Charles Lee

The director of The Jackson Laboratory’s Connecticut institute has landed on a list of “likely” Nobel Prize winners.

Thomson Reuters’ Intellectual Property & Science business named Charles Lee to its 2014 “Nobel-class” Citation Laureates list Thursday. The list is based on research citations and is intended to identify influential researchers.

The company says it’s accurately forecasted 35 Nobel Prize winners since 2002. The list is based on an analysis of how often scientists’ work is cited by others and other measures intended to identify influential work.

Lee, who joined Jackson from Harvard Medical School last year, was named to the list along with Stephen W. Scherer, director of The Centre for Applied Genomics at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and Michael H. Wigler, a researcher at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. The three were included for their research on how genetic variations are linked to disease.

A decade ago, the three researchers found that people’s genetic codes commonly include large sections of DNA that are either repeated many times or deleted, something now known as “copy number variants.” Those findings upended the widespread view that there was little genetic variation among all humans, and provided insights into some diseases that appear to be associated with copy number variants, including autism, cancers and schizophrenia, according to the Citations Laureates entry on Lee, Scherer and Wigler.

Michael E. Hyde, Jackson Lab’s vice president for external affairs and strategic partnerships, said Lee’s recognition by Thomson Reuters indicates that he’s an eminent scientist whose work is studied by others.

“We think it’s a great compliment to Charles, and fingers crossed about where he goes in the future,” Hyde said.

The 2014 Nobel Prizes are scheduled to be announced the week of Oct. 6 at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.

Lee directs The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, the lab’s Connecticut branch. The state committed $291 million to entice the Maine-based research lab to Connecticut. The money included $192 million to build a research facility on the campus of the UConn Health Center in Farmington and $99 million to subsidize Jackson’s research and operating costs for a decade. The Farmington facility has been completed, Hyde said, and is slated for an official opening at a ceremony Oct. 7.

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