CORVALLIS, Ore. - P. Shing Ho, a Harrisburg, Pa., native and a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at Oregon State University, has been chosen to receive one of two 2001 Discovery Awards from the Medical Research Foundation of Oregon for his pioneering work on the structure of DNA.

The award, supported by the Oregon Health & Science University Foundation, includes a $5,000 honorarium. It recognizes Oregon investigators who have made significant, original contributions to health related research while working in Oregon. The other recipient this year is Dr. James T. Rosenbaum of the Oregon Health & Science University. An award ceremony and reception will be held Nov. 26 at the Multnomah Athletic Club.

Ho received his doctorate from Northwestern University in 1984, did postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has been on the OSU faculty since 1987. At OSU he has been recognized both for his teaching and research, and also received awards from the National Institutes of Health and American Cancer Society.

Ho is an internationally recognized expert in DNA structure and function. He recently published several professional papers of scientific significance on such topics as 4-way DNA junctions that play a key role in genetic recombination, which is a process to move genes between chromosomes and to repair damaged DNA in a cell. Some of the findings may be of major medical importance and lead to the design of new drugs, and should also be immediately incorporated into the newest biology textbooks, educators say.

Loren Williams, a professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Georgia Institute of Technology who was one of Ho's nominators for this award, said he had a "high opinion of Dr. Ho's keen analytic abilities, unique approach to biophysics and ability to focus on important problems . . . none of us have been surprised over the years when significant contributions emanated from Dr. Ho's lab at OSU."

Ho is the author of dozens of professional publications, co-author of a textbook on the principles of physical biochemistry, and has received numerous large grants for research from the National Science Foundation, American Cancer Society, Office of Naval Research and National Institutes of Health.