Member update

Published April 01 2018

Members named Sloan fellows


Hannah Shafaat

Timothy Wencewicz

Xin Zhang

Hannah Shafaat, Timothy Wencewicz and Xin Zhang are among the 126 scientists named as 2018 Sloan Research Fellows.

Since 1955, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded fellowships annually to early-career scientists who have distinguished themselves among their peers and have demonstrated the potential to contribute significant future research in their field.

Hannah Shafaat is an assistant professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the Ohio State University. Her research is concentrated on the study of metalloenzymes.

Timothy Wencewicz is an assistant professor in the department of chemistry at Washington University in St. Louis. His research is focused on antibiotic drug discovery.

Xin Zhang is an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State. At his lab, he develops novel chemical tools to gain greater understanding of protein misfolding and aggregation.

Sloan fellows each receive $65,000 to support their research over a two-year term.

Hall honored at BioAsia

Michael N. Hall, a professor at the Biozentrum University of Basel, Switzerland, has received the Genome Valley Excellence Award for his research on TOR proteins.

The award was presented to Hall in February in Hyderabad, India, at BioAsia 2018, a biotechnology conference promoting collaboration and innovation in the life sciences.

Awarded by the government of Telangana, India, since 2004, the Genome Valley Excellence Award recognizes individuals and organizations for their contributions in life sciences research and public health.

Hall was honored for his discovery of nutrient-activated target of rapamycin, or TOR, proteins and their role in controlling cell growth.

Michael J. Hall

World Academy honors Visweswariah

Sandhya Visweswariah is among 55 new fellows elected to the World Academy of Sciences in 2018.

Visweswariah is a professor and chair of the department of molecular reproduction, development and genetics at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. She also serves as co-chair at the Centre for Biosystems Science and Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science.

Visweswariah’s research focuses on signal transduction mediated by cyclic nucleotides. Among her research accomplishments, Visweswariah characterized novel enzymes and proteins involved in cAMP-mediated metabolism in Mycobacteria. She also studies a mammalian receptor guanylyl cyclase, Gucy2c, and characterized genetic mutations responsible for human diarrheal disease.

Founded in 1983, the World Academy of Sciences promotes scientific research, education and policy in developing countries.

Sandhya Visweswariah

Carpenter wins grant

Susan Carpenter, an assistant professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has been awarded a $550,000 grant for her research on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The grant comes from the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program, which is funded by the state’s tax on cigarettes. COPD is a lung disease involving chronic bronchitis and emphysema, commonly caused by smoking.

Carpenter’s lab studies the molecular mechanisms that control the innate immune responses. She will use this grant to research the molecular signals involved in the response of immune system cells to cigarette smoke and the impact on COPD. This grant will help Carpenter discern the pathogenesis of COPD, which could lead to the development of therapeutic treatments.

Susan Carpenter

Booker named Eberly chair

Squire J. Booker, a professor of chemistry and of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Pennsylvania State University and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has been appointed the Eberly Family Distinguished Chair in Science at Penn State.

The Eberly chair is one of the university’s highest honors, recognizing the outstanding achievements of a member of the faculty.

Booker received the Penn State Faculty Scholar Medal in 2016 and the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society in 2011.

Since he joined the faculty at Penn State in 1999, Booker has mentored numerous students. His research explores the molecular details by which enzymes catalyze reactions in the cell, and he has published close to 100 papers throughout his career. He is also a member of the ASBMB Minority Affairs Committee.

Squire J. Booker

In memoriam: Angelo Scanu

University of Chicago professor emeritus Angelo Scanu passed away Jan. 12 after a fall in his home. He was 93.

Scanu was born in Sassari, Italy, in 1924. He received his bachelor’s degree from the Scientific Lyceum in Sassari and later earned a medical degree from the Sassari University Medical School, where he also completed his internal medicine internship and residency training.

Scanu served as a research fellow at Barcelona University Medicine School and Lund University Medical School before returning to Italy in 1953 to join the faculty at Naples University.

He won a Fulbright Scholarship to study biochemistry at the Cleveland Clinic and then joined the faculty at the University of Chicago, where he held numerous positions until his retirement in 2010.

Scanu’s research focused on the study of the structure and function of plasma lipoproteins. He contributed to the understanding of the structure and biology of the lipoprotein known as Lp(a), which has been associated with cardiovascular disease.

Among his numerous accolades, Scanu received the 1994 Samuel R. Natelson Award from the American Association for Clinical Chemistry and the 1997 George Lyman Duff Memorial Lecture award from the Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

He is survived by his daughter, Gabriella; his son, Marco; and his two grandsons.

Angelo Scanu

In memoriam: William Wells

Former Michigan State University professor William W. Wells passed away in May at the age of 89.

Wells was born June 8, 1927, in Traverse City, Michigan. He served in the Navy during World War II before attending the University of Michigan, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in zoology and master’s degree in biochemistry.

After attending the University of Wisconsin for his doctorate, Wells joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He stayed for nearly 10 years before leaving to become a professor of biochemistry at Michigan State University, where he remained until his retirement.

Wells’ research focused on the metabolism of steroids, phosphoinositides and vitamin C. He authored more than 125 publications and 18 book chapters in his career.

Helen Wayt Wells, his wife of 64 years, passed away in 2015. He is survived by his four children, Thomas, Christopher, Jon and Anne, and his nine grandchildren.

In memoriam: Andrew Robertson

The ASBMB recently learned that Andrew David Robertson passed away Aug. 14, 2014, in Portland, Oregon. He was 55.

Robertson was born Feb. 20, 1959, in Gardena, California. He graduated from the University of California at San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he met his future wife, Sue Travis.

They moved to San Francisco, where Robertson completed a postdoctoral fellowship studying RNAse. He later joined the faculty at the University of Iowa as a professor of biochemistry.

Robertson was named director of medical communications at Merck in 2004 and subsequently worked as chief scientific officer at Keystone Symposia, where he co-founded the Keystone Fellows, a diversity-centered program devoted to educating early-career scientists.

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