Scientists receive awards, give lectures at the ASBMB/IUBMB meeting

06/10/04

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 2004 in Boston June 12-16

Seven distinguished scientists - recognized as international leaders in their fields - will be given awards during the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)/ International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB) in Boston June 12-16. As part of the individual award ceremonies, each of the scientists will give a lecture describing his or her work and how it will affect the future of science.

Dr. Steven Almo, of the Department of Biochemistry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, will give the ASBMB-Amgen Award lecture at 4:45 p.m. Monday, June 14. He speaks on the structural basis for T-cell costimulation. Dr. Almo is known worldwide for developing a unique program in the fields of the structural biology of the cytoskeleton and the structural basis for the immune response. His group solved the structures of the molecules responsible for attenuating the T cell response. In an "atoms-to-animal" research strategy expected to serve as a paradigm for future structural biology studies, he is now involved in research that will ultimately be expressed in a knockout/transgenic mouse model to provide the first in vivo structure-function correlations for the costimulatory molecules.

Dr. Sunney I. Chan, of the California Institute of Technology, will receive the William C. Rose Award in honor of his outstanding contributions to biochemical and molecular biological research and his demonstrated commitment to the training of younger scientists. Dr. Chan's own recent research interests have been broadly based in the area of physical biochemistry, with particular emphasis on bioenergetics and the structure and function of membrane proteins, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and bioinorganic chemistry. The award honors both his research achievements in these diverse fields and the many ways he has enriched the life of Caltech undergraduate and graduate students. He speaks on cytochrpme c oxidase and the particulate methane monooxygenase at 4:45 p.m. Monday, June 14.

Dr. Ronald W. Davis of Stanford University School of Medicine, a world leader in biotechnology and recipient of this year's Herbert A. Sober Lectureship Award, will speak on the new genomic technology for yeast and human at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, June 15. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to biochemical and molecular biological research, with particular emphasis on development of methods and techniques to aid in research. Among other achievements, Dr. Davis's laboratory was instrumental in the development of phage lambda vectors, which are now the most common method for the primary closing of cDNA molecules using E. coli. His current focus is on whole genome analysis, and his contributions have led to the completion of sequences for large portions of the genomes of yeast, E. coli, human, p. falciparum, chlamydia, and aradiposis. He is developing new technology for constructing genetic maps and high throughput DNA sequencing.

Dr. Pehr A. B. Harbury, Stanford University School of Medicine, will receive the Schering-Plough Research Award and speak on DNA display in vitro evolution of combinatorial chemistry libraries at 4:45 p.m. Sunday, June 13. The Schering-Plough Award recognizes outstanding contributions to biochemistry and molecular biology researchers with no more than 10 years post-doctoral experience. But during that short time, Dr. Harbury has developed new methods for characterizing the folding determinants and folding behavior especially of larger proteins and has used them to characterize the folding of yeast triosephosphate isomerase (TIM), a large dimeric protein, each of whose identical monomers contains more than 250 residents. These methods are expected to be widely used and speed the development of proteomics.

Dr. Robert J. Lefkowitz, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Duke University Medical Center, is the winner of the first annual Herbert Tabor/Journal of Biological Chemistry Lectureship. At 6 p.m. Saturday, June 12, he will speak on seven membrane spanning receptors. The award honors Dr. Lefkowitz for his groundbreaking research on the most common family of receptors, including the beta-adrenergic receptors that mediate the body's fight or flight response as well as virtually all sensory receptors. His research is contributing to the development of a wide array of drugs to treat disorders including heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma and pain. The super family of seven membrane spanning receptors constitutes by far the largest, most versatile and most ubiquitous type of plasma membrane receptor, and comprise the major target of therapeutic drugs.

Dr. William L. Smith, of the University of Michigan Medical School, winner of this year's ASBMB-Avanti Award in Lipids, will give his award lecture on prostaglandin endoperoxide H synathses/cyclogenases at 8:30 a.m. Monday, June 14. Dr. Smith is one of the world experts on the molecular biology, biochemistry, and enzymology of the prostaglandin synthases, the key enzymes in prostaglandin biosynthesis, and the target for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). His prolific career has yielded seminal work in the areas of eicosanoid biosynthesis, the physiology of polyunsaturated fatty acids, and the action of prostaglandin.

Dr. Jack L. Strominger, Harvard University, recipient of the 2004 ASBMB-Merck Award for outstanding contributions to research in biochemistry and molecular biology, will speak on MHC proteins and multiple sclerosis therapy at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 15. In his early career, Dr. Strominger elucidated the chemical structure of bacterial cell walls and the mechanism of recognition of penicillin by bacterial enzymes. He discovered around 30 specific enzymes required for the biosynthesis of bacterial cell walls. As the result of emergency of drug resistant bacteria, many of these are now under investigation as possible targets for new chemotherapeutic agents. More recently he pioneered in the discovery of the structures of both class I and class II human major histocompatiblity complex antigens and their recognition of self and foreign peptides for presentation to the immune system.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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