James Wells: ASBMB-Merck Award


James Wells: ASBMB-Merck Award

WellsJames Wells, professor and chairman of the department pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of California, San Francisco, and a member of the ASBMB Council, has been named the winner of the 2010 ASBMB-Merck Award for his pioneering studies in the field of protein engineering. 

“Over his career, Wells has made enormous contributions to our understanding of enzyme mechanisms, allostery, protein plasticity, protein-protein interfaces, small molecule discovery, hormone receptor signaling, molecular recognition, protease signaling and apoptosis,” wrote Al Burlingame, professor of chemistry and pharmaceutical chemistry at UCSF and co-editor of  ASBMB’s journal Molecular and Cellular Proteomics.

“These fundamental discoveries were fueled through the development of innovative technologies of protein engineering, cassette mutagenesis, substrate-assisted catalysis, alanine-scanning, phage display, tethering and N-terminomics to name some. Not only has his science lead to fundamental discoveries and technologies -- but to new products in both the industrial enzyme and pharmaceutical industry.”

Ian A. Wilson, professor of structural biology at The Scripps Research Institute, called Wells an “exciting and highly creative scientist.”

“The methods that he has pioneered already have been invaluable to countless researchers in a multitude of fields,” he wrote in support of Wells’ nomination. “His unbridled enthusiasm is infectious and ensures his lab is fully regaled with a plethora of ideas, so they can unleash their own individual talents and expertise to further progress in drug discovery, biochemical mechanisms, protein function and understanding of key cellular events that impact human health.”

The ASBMB-Merck Award recognizes outstanding contributions to research in biochemistry and molecular biology. It provides a plaque and a $5,000 purse, and it covers transportation and expenses of the recipient and spouse to attend the 2010 ASBMB Annual Meeting and present a lecture.