Member Update

Maquat receives Gairdner Award


Lynne E. Maquat won a 2015 Canada Gairdner International Award for her discovery of the mechanism that destroys mutant messenger RNAs, nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. The Gairdner Foundation called this discovery “critically important in both normal and disease states” and commended Maquat’s work on NMD and another pathway, Saufen-mediated mRNA decay. The work has established new roles for long non-coding RNAs.

Gairdner awards are valued at 100,000 Canadian dollars (US$70,000) and are presented to biomedical scientists whose contributions result in greater understanding of human biology and disease. Maquat holds the J. Lowell Orbison endowed chair, is director of the Center for RNA Biology and is professor of biochemistry and biophysics and professor of oncology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, where she also chairs the mentoring group Graduate Women in Science.The recipient of numerous awards throughout her career including the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s own William C. Rose Award in 2014, Maquat is an American Association for the Advancement of Science fellow, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Batsheva de Rothschild fellow of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Bassler wins Shaw prize and FASEB award


Bonnie L. Bassler and her colleague E. Peter Greenberg won the 2015 Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine. The Shaw Prize is an international award recognizing individuals who have made breakthroughs in the fields of astronomy, life science and medicine, and mathematical sciences. Bassler and Greenberg revealed the molecular mechanism of quorum sensing, a process that allows bacteria to communicate and offers innovative ways to interfere with bacterial pathogens or to modulate the microbiome for health applications. Administered by the Shaw Prize Foundation in Hong Kong, the prize carries a purse of $1 million.

Bassler, professor and chair of the molecular biology department at Princeton University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, also won the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology's  2016 Excellence in Science Award. This award recognizes women in the biological sciences who have advanced knowledge in a particular field through excellence in research. FASEB, the nation’s largest coalition of biomedical researchers, represents 27 scientific societies, including the ASBMB, and seeks to promote advancement and education in biological and biomedical sciences. Bassler’s award carries an unrestricted research grant of $10,000.

Goodman named vice chancellor


Steven R. Goodman has been named vice chancellor for research at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center. The position entails further developing the UTHSC’s research initiatives, strategies and infrastructure and increasing the $100 million the university currently averages in annual research funding. Goodman comes to the UTHSC from the State University of New York Upstate Medical University, where, in addition to his responsibilities as a professor both in the department of pediatrics and in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology, he served as vice president for research and the dean of the College of Graduate Studies. Goodman’s research focuses on the cell membrane skeleton and sickle-cell disease, including recent studies leading to potential biomarkers for sickle cell severity. His appointment begins Aug. 3.

Serhan joins Corbus advisory board


Corbus Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc. appointed Charles N. Serhan to the company’s scientific advisory board. A clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, Corbus Pharmaceuticals focuses on rare, life-threatening chronic inflammatory diseases. One of Corbus Pharmaceuticals’ principal efforts is the development of Resunab, a drug for chronic inflammatory diseases that can lead to chronic fibrosis. Serhan brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Corbus Pharmaceuticals’ scientific advisory board. Serhan was the first to identify the role of anti-inflammatory cellular mediators in the pro-inflammatory pathway. Serhan, who serves as a full professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, was the first endowed distinguished scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and served as director of the Center for Experimental Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology since 1995. 

White wins ‘educator of the year’ award

White III

Harold White III was named the educator of the year for higher education by the Delaware BioScience Association. Originating in 2006, the Delaware BioScience Association is dedicated to advancing the growth of the life-science industry and science research and education initiatives in Delaware. It bestows this distinguished award upon an individual who makes a profound impact in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. White is a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Delaware, where he has been a faculty member since 1971. Additionally, he serves as the director of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Undergraduate Science Education Program at UD. White’s research interests include the structure, function and evolution of vitamin-binding proteins as well as intermediary metabolism and biochemical evolution. In 2014, he won the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s Award for Exemplary Contributions to Education.

– Written by Erik Chaulk

Congratulations are in order

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced the members of the class of 2015. The academy has served as the nation’s champion of scholarship, civil dialogue and useful knowledge since its founding in 1780. Its members contribute to publications and studies of science and technology, policy, energy and more. The members include some of the world’s most accomplished leaders from academia, business, public affairs, humanities and the arts. This class of members includes many winners of notable awards in a wide range of disciplines. The new class includes the following ASBMB members:

Carlos J. Bustamante Marc G. Caron Stanley Fields George Georgiou Michael J. Lenardo
Bustamante Caron Fields Georgiou Lenardo
Kenneth J. Marians Michael Snyder Gerhard Wagner James A. Wells Wei Yang
Marians Snyder Wagner Wells Yang

Postdoc wins outreach fellowship


ASBMB member Elinette Albino, a postdoctoral fellow at Ponce Research Institute, received the K – 12 Minority Outreach Fellowship from the American Physiological Society. The program fosters communication among young scientists and middle- and high-school students.

“I plan to visit different schools throughout the year and explain to the students the importance of studying physiology, doing research in physiology and examples of physiologists and their contributions to science,” she says. “My hope is to inspire them to aim higher in their future careers learning a scientific topic they feel challenged and passionate about.”

Albino is conducting research at Martin Hill’s lab in Puerto Rico on the cellular reservoirs that sustain HIV in the presence of suppressive retroviral therapy. The lab is investigating macrophages as a reservoir of HIV and whether they are recruited or derived from monocytes from the placenta since it is a de novo tissue.

For more information about the award, click here.

– Written by Erik Maradiaga