January 30, 2018 – Ian R Gibbons, 2017 Shaw Prize Laureate and visiting Researcher of Molecular and Cell Biology, UC Berkeley, passed away last Tuesday in California, USA at the age of 86.

Gibbons devoted his career to work on the biomolecular mechanisms of cell motility. He discovered, named and characterized the founding member of the dynein ATPase family of motor proteins and other microtubular components in cilia and flagella. By smartly combining biochemical techniques with light and electron microscopy, he greatly advanced our understanding of microtubule-based motility, particularly by the direct visual demonstration of active dynein-dependent sliding between adjacent microtubules in structurally weakened flagella.

The microtubule motors discovered by Gibbons and Prof Ronald Vale lay at the heart of key aspects of human development and chromosome inheritance. Without these motors, the process of multicellular growth and division would be impossible and many diseases have been linked to the genes that encode these motor proteins.

The Shaw Prize Foundation sends most sincere condolences to his beloved family, his colleagues and his friends.


5 February, 2018