September 2011

Tabor Award winners



Amy Walker received her award at the Gordon Research Conference on Molecular and Cellular Biology of Lipids, which was held July 17 – 22 in Waterville Valley, N.H., and attended by JBC Associate Editors George Carman and Bill Smith. Photo courtesy of Joeseph Ferraro.

Harvard med school investigator recognized

Amy Walker, an instructor at Harvard Medical School and the Center for Cancer Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, received the Journal of Biological Chemistry/Herbert Tabor Young Investigator Award for her studies of how metabolic pathways are linked to transcriptional programs and other aspects of cell biology.

“In my graduate and postdoctoral work, my primary interest was how transcriptional activators and the basal transcription machinery played roles in specific developmental processes,” Walker says.

Today, Walker and colleague Ander Näär focus on links between transcriptional regulation and lipid production. “In my lab, I use a combination of C. elegans and mammalian models to understand how regulation of lipid and 1-carbon metabolism is related to mechanisms of transcription factor function, such as the sterol regulatory elements binding proteins,” she says.  

A Mobile, Ala., native, Walker completed her undergraduate studies in microbiology at Auburn University, graduate studies in molecular microbiology at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, and postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School.



Tabor_Chun_Hong  Tabor_Chun_Aedes_aegypti 
Chun-Hong Chen received his award at the Recent Advances in Pathogenic Human Viruses special symposium held July 24 – 26 in Guangzhou, China. The meeting was co-sponsored by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and attended by Journal of Biological Chemistry Editor-in-Chief Marty Fedor and Associate Editor Charles Samuel. Photo courtesy of Wen-Ling Chen.  


Targeting carriers of infectious tropical disease

Chun-Hong Chen, an assistant investigator at the National Health Research Institute in Taiwan, won a Journal of Biological Chemistry/Herbert Tabor Young Investigator Award for his work with engineering disease-refractory mosquitoes to prevent transmission of dengue fever.

A native of Pingtun county, Taiwan, Chen applied a microRNA-based RNAi system to knock down multiple dengue virus genomes in the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti.

“Although there are several steps to go, if we can combine the resistant mosquito with a gene drive system, we will have an alternative way to fight against such vector-borne disease,” Chen says.

Chen earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in plant virology at National Taiwan University and his Ph.D. at National Yang-Ming University, where he worked with Soo-Chen Cheng on RNA splicing.

His postdoctoral training was completed under the direction of Bruce Hay at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Together, Hay and Chen created a gene drive system for population replacement in a Drosophila model. In 2009, Chen returned to his homeland and joined the National Health Research Institutes in Zhunan Town.

Angela-HoppAngela Hopp ( is a science writer and handles public relations for ASBMB.

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As a recently retired AP Biology and Biotechnology Teacher, I am fascinated more each day of the elegant way in which regulatory proteins play an essential role in our every day lives. More high school students need to be exposed to the wonderful world of cell communcation at its best. I applaud Amy Walker for her well deserved award, which comes with tremendous dedication and persistence. C. Ford Morishita-Milwaukie, OR




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