In memoriam: Stephen Prescott



Stephen Michael Prescott, former associate editor of the Journal of Biological Chemistry and president of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, died on May 28 at the age of 73. He had cancer.

Stephen prescott

Born February 22, 1948 in Bryan, Texas, Prescott received a BA from Texas A&M University in 1969 and a medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in 1973. He completed his training in internal medicine and cardiology at the University. from Utah and completed advanced research training at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He then returned to the University of Utah as a professor of internal medicine, where he founded and directed a unique research program in human genetics.

For seven years, starting in 1999, Prescott was Executive Director of the Huntsman Cancer Institute. He has also served on the boards of several organizations, including the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the National Human Genome Research Institute. He founded LineaGen, a biotechnology company that provides accessible genetic testing for children with autism spectrum disorders and developmental delay.

Prescott served as president of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation for 15 years, starting in 2006, and raised $ 100 million to fund the largest campus expansion in OMRF history. Under his leadership, the foundation discovered three drugs that are now used around the world to treat sickle cell anemia, certain rare blood diseases, and protein C deficiency.

In his lab, Prescott studied diacylglycerol kinases, or DGKs, enzymes that phosphorylate diacylglycerol to form phosphatidic acid. His team discovered a mechanism by which the zeta isoform of DGK stimulates the activity of a phosphate kinase and ultimately helps regulate actin polymerization, which is important in cytoskeletal remodeling. He also helped invent a method of screening for agents that regulate the removal of membrane-bound proteins by enhancing or inhibiting the activity of DGK-delta, as well as methods of regulating inflammation and inflammation. cell growth and division by applying these agents, which can be helpful in treating cancer.

Associate Editor of JBC from 1993 to 1998, Prescott also served on the advisory boards of the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society. He has received numerous scientific awards, including the Sol Sherry Award from the American Heart Association.

Twice diagnosed with cancer, Prescott published an article in a 2019 issue of OMRF’s Findings magazine documenting his diagnoses and treatments as well as his feelings about every part of his cancer journey. “The cancer I had developed was so rare that doctors couldn’t really compare my case to others,” he wrote. “Yet one thing was perfectly clear: my situation was dire. Despite what you may have seen on TV or in the movies, doctors do not tell patients that they have some time to live. But I, more than most, could read between the lines of what they were saying.

Prescott is survived by his wife of 52 years, Susan; Brother Donald and sister-in-law Anne, daughter Allison and son-in-law Jeremiah; his son John and his daughter-in-law Sheila; and three granddaughters.


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