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Published November 01 2018

Welsh receives Alpert prize

Michael Welsh is one of five scientists to receive the Warren Alpert Foundation Prize for developing disease-modifying treatments for cystic fibrosis.

The prize recognizes outstanding scientists who have made breakthroughs in biomedical research.

Welsh discovered that the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator, or CFTR, is an anion channel and revealed how it is regulated.

He and colleagues showed how cystic fibrosis–causing mutations disrupt channel function and discovered that function can be restored to mutated CFTR. That research enabled development of effective medicines.

Welsh is the Roy J. Carver professor of internal medicine and molecular physiology and biophysics at the University of Iowa. He also serves as director of the Pappajohn Biomedical Institute and the Cystic Fibrosis Research Center.

Michael Welsh

Holz named dean of NYMC grad school

Marina K. Holz has been named dean of New York Medical College’s Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences.

Holz previously served as the Doris and Dr. Ira Kukin chair in biology and chair of the division of natural sciences and mathematics at the Stern College of Yeshiva University. She also held a joint appointment in the department of molecular pharmacology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

In her lab, Holz studies the mechanisms of signaling by hormones and growth factors in breast cancer. She assumed her new role in September.

Marina K. Holz

Duckett named vice dean

Colin S. Duckett has been appointed vice dean for basic science at the Duke University School of Medicine.

In this role, Duckett serves as the liaison between the dean’s office and the basic science community. He will oversee the biomedical graduate programs and help develop core facilities within the university.

Duckett previously served as chief scientific officer at the Baylor Scott and White Research Institute, Baylor College of Medicine. Prior to working at Baylor, he was a professor for 15 years in the departments of pathology and internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Duckett is highly regarded for his work on the inhibitor of apoptosis proteins. He has authored more than 90 papers throughout his career.

Duckett assumed his new role in September.

Colin S. Duckett

Schekman to step down from eLife

The founding editor-in-chief of eLife, Randy Schekman, will step down from his role with the journal in early 2019.

Schekman will dedicate more of his time to his responsibilities as chair of the advisory council for Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s, an initiative dedicated to developing strategies to advance knowledge of the underlying mechanisms of the disease.

Scheckman is a cell and molecular biologist at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to founding eLife, he served as editor-in-chief of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

As founding editor-in-chief, Scheckman has been instrumental in developing eLife as an innovative publication through its collaborative peer-review process and open-access policy.

Randy Schekman

In memoriam: Joanne Ravel

University of Texas professor Joanne Ravel passed away June 28 at the age of 93.

The youngest of 10 children, Ravel was born July 27, 1924, at Seton Hospital in Austin, Texas. An Austin resident her whole life, Ravel attended Austin High School before earning her undergraduate degree and her Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Texas, Austin.

After receiving her Ph.D., Ravel remained at UT Austin, where she worked as a research scientist at the Clayton Biochemical Institute. In 1972, she became an associate professor in the department of chemistry at UT. She later held the Ashbel Smith chair, one of UT Austin’s highest honors.

Ravel supervised and mentored numerous graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Several of her students went on to serve as deans and presidents of major universities.

Ravel’s husband, Jerome, passed away in 2003. She is survived by her daughter, Margaret, and her son, Stephen.

Joanne Ravel

In memoriam: Peter Reichard

Peter Reichard, professor emeritus at the Karolinska Institute, passed away June 18. He was 93.

Born in Austria in 1925, Reichard moved to Sweden in 1939. He earned his Ph.D. in medicine at the Karolinska Institute in 1949 before leaving for the United States to complete his postdoctoral studies.

Reichard returned to Sweden and served as a professor of medical chemistry at Uppsala University from 1961 to 1963 before joining the Karolinska Institute in 1964. He became a professor of biochemistry as well as director of the Medical Nobel Institute for Biochemistry.

Reichard made outstanding contributions in the advancement of nucleic acid biochemistry. He discovered and characterized ribonucleotide reductase, the enzyme that enables DNA synthesis by synthesizing deoxyribonucleotides from ribonucleotides and in the correct proportions for DNA replication.

Reichard valued international collaborations throughout his career, and his laboratory hosted postdoctoral fellows and sabbatical visitors from around the globe. He also was involved deeply in the work of the Nobel Committee and the Nobel Assembly.

Reichard retired in 1991. After the death of his first wife, Dagmar, he married Vera Bianchi, a collaborator and professor at Padua University in Italy, where they lived for several years.

Peter Reichard

In memoriam: Mahendra Jain

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology recently learned of the passing of University of Delaware professor emeritus of chemistry and biochemistry Mahendra K. Jain. He was 78.

Jain was born Oct. 12, 1938, and was raised in India, where he earned a B.S. from Holkar College in Indore and an M.S. from Vikram University in Ujjain.

He completed his Ph.D. at the Weizmann Institute in Israel and then, in 1967, moved to the United States, where he conducted research at the University of Indiana, Bloomington.

In 1973, Jain joined the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Delaware. He was appointed associate professor in 1975 and full professor in 1981.

Jain made significant contributions to understanding interfacial catalysis associated with the kinetics of enzymes acting on substrates diffusing in two-dimensional membranes. He recognized that enzymes could “scoot” within a membrane or occasionally exit one membrane and “hop” to another.

Jain authored or co-authored more than 200 articles throughout his career as well as several books, including “The Bimolecular Lipid Membrane: A System” and “Introduction to Biological Membranes.”

Read a remembrance of Mahendra Jain by his friend and colleague Hal White.

Mahendra K. Jain

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