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The Henry Gray Award is the most prestigious award given by the American Association of Anatomists. This award is presented annually to an AAA member in recognition of his or her unique and meritorious contributions to, and achievements in, the anatomical sciences. The Henry Gray laureate for 2002 is Dr. Peter Satir of the Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Dr. Satir entered Columbia College (part of Columbia University) in 1952 and received his A.B. degree in 1956. He then elected to pursue graduate work at the Rockefeller Institute (now Rockefeller University). The Rockefeller Institute was one of the birthplaces of modern cell biology and home to such scientific pioneers as Albert Claude, Keith R. Porter, George E. Palade, Christian de Duve, and Philip Siekevitz. Among these names, one recognizes AAA members and former Henry Gray Awardees (Porter and Palade) and Nobel Laureates (Palade and de Duve). It was a rich and exciting intellectual period for Peter Satir as one of the first graduate students at Rockefeller.

In the early 1950s, there were no graduate students at Rockefeller. In the fall of 1956, Satir entered the program with strong support from the President, Dr. Detur Bronsky, but amid widespread, although by no means unanimous, opposition by the members. This had nothing to do with Satir as an individual, but rather with the Rockefeller faculty themselves, who saw their palace of quiet scholarship and serious scientific investigation being invaded by a group of untamed youths, i.e., graduate students. The Rockefeller members had been satisfied with training only postdoctoral fellows.

After hearing Dr. Keith Porter present a seminar entitled “The Submicroscopic Morphology of Protoplasm” Satir took a position as a graduate student in Porter's laboratory. Satir quickly recognized the power of using the electron microscope for exploring cell function, and he developed his special ability to use structural information to test functional hypotheses. As a graduate student he began a study of cilia that has continued throughout his career.

While a graduate student as part of the Rockefeller program, he was a Visiting Scientist (1958–1959) at the Carlsberg Foundation Biological Institute in Copenhagen. Dr. Satir received his Ph.D. in 1961. His initial faculty appointment (1961–1963) was as an Instructor of Zoology and Biology at the University of Chicago, and he was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1963. In 1967, Dr. Satir became an Associate Professor of Anatomy at the University of California at Berkeley (1967–1973) and was promoted to the rank of Professor in the Department of Physiology-Anatomy in 1973, a position he held until joining Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1977. He was also Director of the Electron Microscopy Laboratory from 1968 to 1975. In 1977, Dr. Satir became Professor and Chairman of the Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology at Albert Einstein, a position he held until last year when he stepped down from the Chairmanship and became Distinguished University Professor.

As noted above, Dr. Satir was a visiting scientist at the Carlsberg Foundation while a graduate student. In subsequent years, he has been a Visiting Scientist/Visiting Professor at the Zoological Institute at the University of Geneva (1965–1966), the Zoological Institute at the University of Tokyo (1972–1973), and the Molecular Biology Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles. In addition, Dr. Satir was a Visiting Scientist in the Physics Department at Kings College London from 1988 to 1998.

Dr. Satir's research interests have focused largely on the structure, function, and movement of cilia. His ingenious use of structural analysis, combined with the identification of powerful model systems, provided a model for the sliding microtubule hypothesis of ciliary bending. These important observations led to the discovery that dynein is a minus-end-directed motor whose regulated activity underpins the bending motion of cilia. Dr. Satir's studies of cilia have also extended to a variety of important related topics. These topics include studies of cells composing ciliated epithelium, the structure and function of flagella, and the structure of cell membranes. He also elucidated the role of Ca2+ in microtubule function and ciliary movement and studied the cytoskeleton in ciliated epithelial cells and in hepatocytes. Over the years, Dr. Satir's significant research efforts have be funded by the USPHS, NIH, AMAE Education and Research Foundation, and the NATO Exchange Fellowship for International Collaboration in Research.

Taken collectively, Dr. Satir's extensive morphological and experimental investigations have provided important insights into the structure and function of cilia; information that is now standard fare in many histology and cell biology textbooks. He has published his results in well-known, peer-reviewed journals, including Journal of Cell Biology, Journal of General Physiology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Nature, Science, Journal of Cell Physiology, Annual Review of Physiology, and Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton. He has also published seminal chapters in several reference works and edited two books. Dr. Satir has published over 160 studies and book chapters and approximately 20 commentaries/reviews.

Dr. Satir is a member of several professional organizations and has been especially active in four, one of these being the AAA. He is a member of The Society of Protozoologists, The Biophysical Society, The British Society of Cell Biology, and The Microscopy Society of America. His tenure with the AAA has been a long and active one. He served on the Bensley Award Committee (1985–1987, 1993–1995, chairing the Committee in 1986 and 1994), the Publications Committee (1988–1992), the Program Committee (1990–1992), the Nominating Committee, and is a member of the Experimental Biology Board of the AAA (1998–present). As a member of the American Society for Cell Biology, Dr. Satir has served as Program Chairman (1979), on the ASCB Council (1980–1983) and on the society's Minority Affairs Committee (1984–1986, Chair 1985–1986). He is a member of The New York Society of Electron Microscopy and was its president (1985–1986) and a Board Member (1992–1995). He is also a member of The Association of Anatomy, Cell Biology and Neurobiology Chairpersons, serving as President (1996–1997) and on its Executive Committee (1990–1998). In addition to his extensive service to professional organizations, he is also currently an Associate Editor of the journal Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton.

Over the years, Dr. Satir has been active in graduate education- and service-related activities, especially during his years at Berkeley and Albert Einstein. He has trained several graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and has served on departmental and medical school-wide committees.

Beginning with his undergraduate training, Dr. Satir received several awards and special recognitions. He received the Huebschesman Prize in Zoology in 1956 and was a Rockefeller Institute Fellow from 1956 to 1961. He has also been a Willet Fellow (1965), a Guggenheim Fellow (1972–1973), and a Fellow of the AAAS (1976). He held the Miller Professorship at UC Berkeley in 1976, was a Distinguished Lecturer in Biology at UCLA (1981), and the Christianna Smith Lecturer at Mt. Holyoke College (1988). He has served as a member of the Molecular Cytology Study Section of the NIH and a Trustee of the K.R. Porter Endowment in Cell Biology (1987–1993). Dr. Satir was the Malpighi Lecturer at the 2nd International Malpighi Symposium in Rome in 1995 and is a Senior Associate of the Foresight Institute. He also held the important position as a member of the National Board of Medical Examiners for Anatomy in 1985–1988 and was Chairman of the Anatomy Test Committee of the NBME for 1989–1992.

Dr. Peter Satir has made many important contributions to the fields of anatomy and cell biology through his insightful studies and dedicated activities. The AAA recognizes Peter Satir as a most worthy recipient of the Henry Gray Award for 2002.

Duane E. Haines

Secretary-Treasurer, AAA

Chairman, Editorial Advisory Board

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Dr. Peter Sati