Elisabetta Ullu, Ph.D., professor of medicine and cell biology, has received the inaugural Alice and C.C. Wang award from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Ullu received the award for her laboratory’s research on a mechanism of gene silencing called RNA interference (RNAi). While examining RNA synthesis and processing pathways in the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei, the cause of African sleeping sickness, Ullu showed that RNAi, in which small, noncoding RNA molecules rather than proteins affect gene expression, was an important genetic regulator in the parasite.

In supporting her nomination, Shulamit Michaeli, Ph.D., professor of life sciences at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, said Ullu’s discovery of RNAi in T. brucei “made a revolution in the ability to investigate the function of genes in parasites.”

A native of Italy, Ullu received her doctorate from the University of Rome in 1973 and joined Yale’s faculty in 1984.