February 2011

Brown and Goldstein honored with ASBMB’s inaugural Stadtman award

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has named Nobel laureates Michael S. Brown and Joseph L. Goldstein, pioneers in the study of cholesterol metabolism, the joint winners of its first Earl and Thressa Stadtman Distinguished Scientist Award.

 

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has named Nobel laureates Michael S. Brown and Joseph L. Goldstein, pioneers in the study of cholesterol metabolism, the joint winners of its first Earl and Thressa Stadtman Distinguished Scientist Award.

Ira Pastan of the National Cancer Institute, who nominated the pair for the award, says their “sustained record of joint discoveries places them at the forefront of regulatory biochemistry, the field that was pioneered by Earl Stadtman.”

Brown and Goldstein, both of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, shared the 1985 Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology for their discovery of the low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, receptor and the process of receptor-mediated endocytosis. In recent years, they discovered sterol regulatory element-binding proteins and the process of regulated intramembrane proteolysis.

“It is intensely poignant for Joe and me to accept this award in the name of Earl and Thressa Stadtman. My fellowship with Earl imbued me with a love of enzyme regulation. Later Earl adopted Joe as well, and the two of us enjoyed a long and inspirational friendship with him.” – MICHAEL S. BROWN

The researchers met at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston in the 1960s and have collaborated ever since. From 1968 to 1971, Brown worked at the National Institutes of Health, initially as a clinical associate in gastroenterology and hereditary disease and later in the biochemistry laboratory headed by Earl Stadtman himself. Meanwhile, Goldstein spent 1968 through 1970 at the NIH as well, working in the laboratory of Marshall W. Nirenberg and at the National Heart Institute.

In 1971, Brown joined the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. A year later, so did Goldstein. (It’s worth noting that Goldstein had attended medical school there, so, for him, it was a homecoming of sorts.)

“Mike and I entered the NIH as youngsters trained in medicine and intensely curious about science. My exposure to Marshall Nirenberg and Mike’s exposure to Earl Stadtman kindled in us a love of experimentation and a respect for rigor that has endured for 40 years. The Earl and Thressa Stadtman Award is a living testament to the profound influence that they had on the careers of so many budding scientists.”
– JOSEPH L. GOLDSTEIN

“Put simply, these guys are great. It has been a pleasure for the scientific community to watch this story unfold,” says Richard Axel, a professor at Columbia University Medical Center and the recipient of the 2004 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. “With unabated and unsurpassed creativity and rigor, they continue to pursue a problem in basic science with profound implications for clinical medicine: the regulation of lipid and cholesterol biosynthesis.”

Robert D. Simoni, chairman of the biology department at Stanford University and associate editor of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, emphasizes that Brown and Goldstein also have kept alive the Stadtmans’ tradition of mentoring.

“Beyond their own research accomplishments, Mike and Joe, like the Stadtmans, have provided an excellent training ground for young scientists, many of whom have gone on to assume leadership roles in biochemistry,” Simoni says.

Please feel free to send a congratulatory email to Michael S. Brown or Joseph L. Goldstein or leave them a note in the comment space below.

Angela Hopp (ahopp@asbmb.org) is managing editor for special projects at ASBMB.

 

About the Award

The Stadtman award was established by friends and colleagues to preserve the Stadtmans' legacies as scientists and mentors. It is awarded to an established scientist for his or her outstanding achievement in basic research in the fields encompassed by the ASBMB. The award is given every other year, alternating with the Earl and Thressa Stadtman Young Scholar Award. The distinguished scientist award consists of a plaque, a $10,000 purse and travel expenses to present a lecture at the ASBMB annual meeting. Brown and Goldstein will present their award lecture, “The SREBP Pathway: Stadtman’s Paradigm Applied to Cholesterol,” at 2:40 p.m. April 11 at the 2011 annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

You can view award presentations from the 2010 ASBMB annual meeting in our archive.


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