Member Update

Mecham wins Marfan Foundation award

 Mecham with his lab.Image courtesy of Tim Joyce/The Marfan Foundation Mecham

The Marfan Foundation named Robert Mecham the first winner of its Distinguished Research Award. Mecham, a faculty member at the Washington University School of Medicine, was honored at the foundation’s gala in March. Now in its seventh year, the fundraising gala honors those “who are so deserving for their commitment to the Marfan syndrome and related disorders community,” said Alan Braverman, director of the Marfan Syndrome Clinic at Washington University, co-host of the gala and the son, brother and uncle of Marfan syndrome patients. He noted that Mecham “is a national leader in research of elastic tissue function whose work has contributed to understanding the structure and function of fibrillin, the abnormal protein in Marfan syndrome.”

Protein Society recognizes Sidhu and Yan


Two American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology members won awards from the Protein Society. Sachdev Sidhu of the University of Toronto won the Christian B. Anfinsen Award, and Nieng Yan of Tsinghua University won the Protein Science Young Investigator Award. In a statement, the society noted that Sidhu “has advanced the field of protein engineering through pioneering advancement of phage display technology, creation and deployment of highly designed synthetic human antibody libraries, engineering ubiquitin to create tools for studying and manipulating the ubiquitin system, and a number of other groundbreaking approaches.” Meanwhile, the society pointed to Yan’s crystal structures of transporters, including human GLUT1. It said: “Her work is characterized not only by the pursuit of targets that can be described as ‘high hanging fruit,’ but also by being thoroughly anchored by focusing on how protein structural information can be employed to illuminate protein function and related biology.” Sidhu and Yan will receive their awards at the society’s annual meeting in July in Barcelona.


Traktman named dean at Medical University of S. Carolina

Paula Traktman is set to become dean of the College of Graduate Studies at the Medical University of South Carolina in July. Traktman has been a professor and head of the microbiology and molecular genetics department at the Medical College of Wisconsin since 1997. Before that, she held positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard Medical School and Cornell University. Mark Sothmann, the provost at MUSC, said Traktman “brings an excellent combination of research, teaching and administrative skills to lead the continued growth and development of the College of Graduate Studies.” Her appointment is contingent upon the board of regents’ approval.

Hilton wins scholarship, industry mentorship


Edward Hilton, an undergraduate at Duquesne University, won a $10,000 scholarship from Clarkston Consulting. Hilton, a biochemistry major who works in the lab of Benedict Kolber, was honored by the company in March. In addition to the scholarship money, Hilton will receive mentoring from employees of Clarkston Consulting and will participate in the Pennsylvania Bio events over the next two years. “I am extremely grateful for this honor,” Hilton said. “The scholarship funds will help offset the cost of my current education and allow me to focus on my professional development. I believe that the mentoring aspect of the Clarkston Scholars Program will afford a wonderful opportunity to gain further insight into this industry.”