Topic of ASBMB-Avanti Award Lecture will be lipid-protein interactions

01/31/05

Bethesda, Maryland, January 31, 2005: William Dowhan, John S. Dunn Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Texas Medical Center in Houston, has been chosen to receive the ASBMB-Avanti Award in Lipids. The focus of Dr. Dowhan's award lecture will be lipid-protein interactions as determinants of protein structure and function. The lecture will take place on Monday, April 4 at 8:30 a.m. at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Annual Meeting in San Diego.

The membranes that surround cells and organelles are composed mostly of phospholipids, but they also contain cholesterol, glycolipids, and proteins. Because phospholipids come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they can impart a broad spectrum of chemical and physical properties to the membranes, and affect the organization and function of the proteins imbedded within the membranes.

Dr. Dowhan has made strains of Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisia in which the membrane phospholipid content can be regulated in a systematic manner. His lecture will focus on how he is using these strains as biological reagents to determine the involvement of lipids in cellular functions. By combining molecular, genetic and biochemical approaches, he has been able to establish specific new roles for lipids in several cellular processes.

Over the past 30 years, Dr. Dowhan' s research has established and defined the molecular basis for new roles of lipids in a diverse number of cellular processes. His observations have expanded the number of investigators who now consider lipids as important to their studies. In short, Dr. Dowhan's science has been of fundamental importance to membrane and lipid biochemistry.

The ASBMB-Avanti award recognizes outstanding research contributions, such as Dr. Dowhan's, to the area of lipids. Previous recipients include Edward A. Dennis in 2000, Ronald N. McElhaney 2001, Christian R. H. Raetz 2002, Robert Bittman 2003, and in 2004 William L. Smith. The Award consists of a plaque, a stipend, and transportation and expenses to present a lecture at the ASBMB Annual Meeting in San Diego.

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization with 12,000 members in the United States and internationally. Most members teach and conduct research at colleges and universities. Others conduct research in various government laboratories, nonprofit research institutions, and industry.

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