James-Chen-FNIH-logo.jpgThe Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) is delighted to recognize Zhijian “James” Chen, Ph.D., with the 2018 Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences for discovery of the enzyme cyclic GMP‐AMP synthase (cGAS) and its corresponding pathway, which solved a century- old mystery about DNA. Long before DNA was known to be a genetic material, scientists knew that it could activate the body’s immune system to fight infections. However, they did not understand the cellular process that occurred to trigger this response until Dr. Chen’s discovery. The cGAS enzyme and its DNA-sensing pathway are the catalyst for the critical immune response that defends the body against viruses, bacteria and tumors, but surprisingly, they also can inflict autoimmune disease. Now in its sixth year, the Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences will be presented to Dr. Chen at the FNIH Award Ceremony hosted by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on May 16, 2018 in Washington, D.C.