June 20, 2008

Vanderbilt’s Hudson honored by University of Iowa

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Billy Hudson, Ph.D.

Vanderbilt’s Hudson honored by University of Iowa

Billy Hudson, Ph.D., director of the Center for Matrix Biology, has received a Distinguished Alumni Award from his alma mater, the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.

The Award for Achievement honors significant professional accomplishments in science, medicine and education.

"I am grateful and truly honored to receive this award," Hudson said. "It reflects the mentorship, inspiration and encouragement of many faculty in the Departments of Biochemistry and Chemistry at the University of Iowa, to whom I am indebted, that fueled, shaped and equipped me for a journey into the exciting world of medical science. And, it reflects the love and encouragement of my family, to whom I am also indebted."

Known worldwide for his work in kidney diseases, Hudson's research has focused on basement membranes, the extracellular matrix that binds cells and influences their function. His research team discovered the alpha 3 and 4 chains of collagen IV and described how they assemble and comprise a complex network that functions as part of the kidney filtration barrier.

The network is directly involved in autoimmune Goodpasture syndrome, hereditary Alport syndrome, and diabetic nephropathy, diseases that cause kidney failure in millions of patients. For these discoveries, he received the American Society of Nephrology's highest honor, the Homer W. Smith Award, in 2003. He also received a National Institutes of Health Merit Award for his work in 2002.

Hudson is the co-founder of NephroGenex, a biotech company that is developing a drug, discovered in his lab, for the treatment of diabetic renal disease.

He is also the co-founder of the Aspirnaut Initiative, which equips middle and high school students with laptops and broadband Internet access to turn long bus rides into productive learning time in rural Arkansas.

Hudson received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Iowa in 1966 and joined the VMC staff in 2002. He is the Elliot V. Newman professor of Medicine, Biochemistry and Pathology.