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Maxfield, Ory winners of NIH Clinical Center awards

Frederick Maxfield Daniel Ory
Maxfield Ory
NIH Clinical Center logoThe National Institutes of Health last month announced that 10 groups of researchers will be granted access to the agency’s Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md. One group that won one of the three-year, renewable grants includes two members of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: Frederick Maxfield at Weill Cornell Medical College and Daniel Ory of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. While the NIH’s extramural funding supports scientists beyond the agency’s walls, these awards are unique in that they give the teams direct access to NIH’s resources. Maxfield and Ory’s team will conduct a clinical trial on a drug against the most common form of NeimannPick disease, NPC1, a fatal, inherited lysosomal-storage disorder. The trial will be on the drug Vorinostat, a histone deacetylase inhibitor that in early studies has show some promise in clearing cholesterol and other lipids from NPC1-mutant human cells. Maxfield and Ory’s collaborators include Steven Walkley of Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Forbes Porter of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Fuchs wins AACR’s Pezcoller fund award

Elaine FuchsNext month, Elaine Fuchs of the Rockefeller University will receive the 2014 Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Cancer at the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual meeting in San Diego. Fuchs, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, was recognized for “her pioneering research on the biology of skin stem cells and how they go awry in human diseases of the skin, including cancer,” Margaret Foti, chief executive officer of the AACR, said. Just last year, Fuchs was named as an inaugural fellow of the AACR Academy. She’s also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the European National Academy of Sciences.

In memoriam: Boris Magasanik

Boris MagasanikBoris Magasanik of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology died late last year at the age of 94. A longtime member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a former editorial board member of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Magasanik had spent decades studying microbial physiology and the regulation of gene expression. Upon learning of Magasanik’s death, colleagues and former students recalled his storytelling ability and the breadth of his knowledge. Magasanik was born in Ukraine in 1919. His family fled to Vienna after the Russian Revolution. Magasanik was studying chemistry at the University of Vienna in1938 when Germany annexed Austria and Jews were expelled from the universities. He immigrated to New York City, later attending City College of New York. Drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II, Magasanik served in medical units in England and France. He earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1948 and joined the Harvard Medical School faculty. In 1960, Salvador Luria recruited Magasanik to MIT, where he later led the biology department, which almost doubled in size during his tenure.

An endowed professorship for Hannun

Yusuf HannunYusuf A. Hannun, director of the Stony Brook University Cancer Center, was granted an endowed professorship last month. Hannun’s investiture makes him only the eighth endowed faculty member at the university, which has set its sights on having 100 within the next five years. Hannun’s endowed professorship, established in 2001, is named after Joel Strum Kenny, the late son of the university’s past president Shirley Strum Kenny. Joel Kenny, who died of leukemia, had been a scholar, teacher and rabbi. Hannun is a past winner of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s Avanti Award in Lipids.