Over the past few months we’ve been taking a more detailed look at our 2020 CiteAb Award winners, and today we’re going to talk about our Lifetime Achievement category.
This category is designed to highlight an outstanding individual who has made a significant impact in the reagent sector. This could be in research or in the supply of products, or in another part of the sector – but their impact usually goes beyond commercial gain and has played a wider role in the field.
Our winner for this category in 2020 was Dr Michael Browning, founder and CEO of PhosphoSolutions. He joins previous winners Michael Weiner of Abcam in 2019, Dr Michael Comb of Cell Signaling Technology in 2018, Karen Padgett of Novus Biologicals and Bio-Techne in 2017, and Dr Jonathan Milner of Abcam in 2016.
In a career spanning four decades, Dr Browning has served the cause of scientific discovery as an exemplary neuroscientist, mentor, and business leader.
His unimpeachable integrity and dedication to scientific rigor has inspired countless grad students, post docs and employees and set a standard of excellence in the reagent industry.
Dr Browning’s mission to contribute reliable antibodies to the research community began during his post doc years in Nobel Laureate Dr. Paul Greengard’s lab at Yale in the 1980s. Studying the critical roles synapsin proteins play in synaptic function, he saw first-hand the connection between antibody quality and outstanding research outcomes.
As a professor at the University of Colorado in the Pharmacology and Neuroscience departments, Dr Browning developed antibodies to proteins involved in LTP, widely regarded as the key cellular mechanism underlying learning and memory.
In the early 1990s, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the USA recognized Dr. Browning’s understanding of antibodies as research tools and awarded him a grant to develop additional novel antibodies. Numerous subsequent publications cited his home-grown antibodies, and the NIH urged him to commercialise his work – resulting in the development of PhosphoSolutions.
Dr Browning has long been a proponent of polyclonal antibodies owing to their versatility and robustness. He was an industry leader in advocating reagent reproducibility well before there was a ‘reproducibility crisis’.
At his direction in 2006, PhosphoSolutions instituted a unique-in-the-industry serum pooling initiative by which antibodies are released only when a large supply of serum had been amassed, positively screened and then pooled. This practice guarantees a 20-year supply of a given antibody purified from homogenous starting material with virtually no lot-to-lot variability.
Recognising Dr. Browning’s leadership in reproducibility, GBSI invited him to attend its landmark 2016 Antibody Validation workshop, where Dr Browning called for antibody manufacturers to adopt serum pooling and improve and standardise internal validation.
In September 2019, Dr Browning joined PhosphoSolutions with Antibodies Incorporated and Aves Labs to form a family of small manufacturers providing reagents that researchers can rely on.
Dr. Browning has a wife and two grown sons. In his spare time he enjoys golf and spending time with his family.
Commenting on this win, he said: “CiteAb has been at the forefront of efforts to assist researchers in finding high quality reproducible reagents. And so I am extremely happy to have been recognised with their award.
“It is particularly rewarding given the distinguished group of individuals who have been previous recipients. Please accept my sincere and heartfelt thanks for your wonderful award.”
Dr Andrew Chalmers, founder of CiteAb, said: “I wish to offer my personal congratulations to Dr Michael Browning on winning the CiteAb Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Anyone who has met him couldn’t fail to be impressed by his enthusiasm and dedication to improving antibodies for the research community. This is a well-deserved award following a remarkable career. Many congratulations to Dr Browning from me and the whole CiteAb team.”
– Katrina and the CiteAb team