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Golden Goose Award Goes to John Eng

Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 11:10

The creators of the Golden Goose Award have announced that the next award will go to Dr. John Eng, a medical researcher and practicing physician whose study of the extremely poisonous venom produced by the Gila monster led to a drug that protects millions of diabetics from such complications as blindness, kidney failure, and nerve damage.

The Golden Goose Award was created in 2012 to celebrate researchers whose seemingly odd or obscure federally funded research turned out to have a significant, positive impact on society. Dr. Eng will receive the award at the second annual Golden Goose Awards ceremony in Washington, DC, this fall, along with the late Wallace Coulter, who was named a Golden Goose awardee earlier this year, and other winners to be named in the coming weeks.

The Golden Goose Award was originally the idea of Representative Jim Cooper (D-TN) and has the support of a bipartisan group of Members of Congress. It was created by a coalition of organizations, including the American Astronomical Society, that believe that federally funded basic scientific research is the cornerstone of American innovation and essential to our economic growth, health, global competitiveness, and national security. Award recipients are selected by a panel of respected scientists and university research leaders.

"Medicine from monsters and venom may sound like a science-fiction novel, but it's a real-life breakthrough," said Rep. Cooper. "Dr. Eng's research shows that we can't abandon science funding only because we don't know where it might lead. Just ask millions of diabetics whose lives have been improved by his discovery."

"Dr. Eng's research demonstrates the necessity of federally supported basic research," said Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), another congressional supporter of the Golden Goose Award. "In 1992, there was no way of knowing that Gila monster venom contained a compound that would one day change the lives of millions of diabetics. We owe it to future generations to lay the groundwork now for tomorrow's breakthroughs."

— Adapted from a press release from the Association of American Universities. Read the full release (PDF).

Richard Tresch Fienberg
Press Officer & Director of Communications
American Astronomical Society
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