Published March 01 2017

Six ASBMB members named fellows of the National Academy of Inventors

Barany Boyan Modrich Muzyczka Raines Stillman
Barany Boyan Modrich Muzyczka Raines Stillman

Francis Barany of Weill Cornell University, Barbara D. Boyan of Virginia Commonwealth University, Paul L. Modrich of Duke University, Nicholas Muzyczka of the University of Florida, Ronald T. Raines of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Bruce W. Stillman of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have been nominated as 2016 fellows of the National Academy of Inventors.

NAI fellows are named inventors on U.S. patents who are nominated by their peers for their outstanding contributions as innovators. Fellows are recognized for having a significant effect on society through innovations in patents and licensing as well as discovery and technology.

These six members, along with the other 2016 NAI fellows, will be inducted as part of the Sixth Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors in April.


Serio to be dean at UMass Amherst

Tricia R. Serio, professor and head of the department of molecular and cellular biology at the University of Arizona, will become the dean of the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in August.

Serio takes over the department from Steven Goodwin, who is stepping down after leading the college and one of its predecessors, the College of Natural Resources and the Environment, since 2002.

Serio’s research is focused in the field of protein folding, where she seeks to comprehend the mechanisms by which protein conformations can act as elements of inheritance and infectivity.

Serio brings leadership and a distinguished academic career to her new role.


Hartl and Schulman named visiting professors

F. Ulrich Hartl, director of the department of cellular biochemistry at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, and Brenda Schulman, the Joseph Simone chair in basic research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, have been named as 2017 Vallee visiting professors.

Hartl’s research explores protein folding and quality control. Recently, he has focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative disorders.


Schulman’s research focuses on the structural basis for post-translational modification by ubiquitin and ubiquitinlike proteins.

The Vallee Visiting Professorship program pairs renowned scientists with leading biomedical research institutions as a means of promoting intellectual exchange, collaboration and discovery.

In memoriam: P. Michael Conn

P. Michael Conn, senior vice president for research, associate provost, and the Robert C. Kimbrough professor of internal medicine with a joint appointment in the department of cell biology and biochemistry at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, died in November.

Conn identified an underlying biological principle that has significantly altered the understanding of cellular mutations that result in human disease. His work has shown the potential for the development of new therapeutic treatments.

A highly accomplished researcher, Conn won, among numerous awards and honors, the J. J. Abel Award of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics as well as the Miguel Aleman Prize, Mexico’s national science medal.

Conn authored and co-authored more than 350 publications and wrote and edited more than 200 books. He served as president of the Endocrine Society, during which time he founded the forerunner to the Hormone Health Network, a group that serves as a public education resource on hormone-related issues.


In memoriam: Eugene Roberts

Eugene Roberts, distinguished scientist emeritus at the City of Hope Medical Center, died of pneumonia in November. He was 96.

Originally born Evgeny Rabinowitch in Krasnodar, Russia, Roberts moved to Detroit in 1922. He obtained his B.S. from Wayne University in 1940 and received his M.S. and Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in 1941 and 1943, respectively.

Shortly after his graduate work, Roberts was employed to work on the Manhattan Project, serving as an assistant head of the project’s inhalation research program. After the war, Roberts joined Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in the division of cancer research.

An important figure in the neuroscience community, Roberts discovered the presence of abnormally large quantities of γ-aminobutyric acid in the brain in 1949. In 1954, he went on to work at the City of Hope Medical Center in Duarte, California, where he later created an interdisciplinary division of neurosciences, the first of its kind.

He is survived by his wife, Ruth Roberts; his son, Paul; his daughters, Judith and Miriam; and his five grandchildren.

Erik Chaulk Erik Chaulk is a peer-review coordinator and digital publications web specialist at the ASBMB.