Kim Orth, a professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, has been named the winner of the ASBMB Young Investigator Award. Orth's most notable achievements include the discovery of novel post-translational modifications exploited by the virulence factors secreted by bacterial pathogens. One of these, YopJ from Yersinia, the causal agent of plague,transfers an acetyl group from acetyl CoA to a serine or threonine hydroxyl in mammalian MAP kinase kinase, inactivating the enzyme. Another virulence factor, VopS from Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a cause of debilitating diarrhea, is an enzyme that AMPylates (transfers AMP) to tyrosine, serine or threonine hydroxyl in mammalian Rho GTPases, inactivating these enzymes. Her studies bring new insights to the field of eukaryotic signaling.
Judith Voet, professor emeritus at Swarthmore College, and Donald Voet, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, won the ASBMB Award for Exemplary Contributions to Education. The Voets have made significant contributions to the teaching of biochemistry and molecular biology through their writing. Together, they have authored the comprehensive textbook "Biochemistry," co-authored "Fundamentals of Biochemistry" and co-edited the educational journal "Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education."
Christine Guthrie, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, won the ASBMB-Merck Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to research in biochemistry and molecular biology. Guthrie, an American Cancer Society research professor of molecular genetics, pioneered the use of budding yeast as a model organism to elucidate the mechanism of messenger RNA splicing.
Look for more in-depth coverage of the award winners and their lecture topics in forthcoming issues of ASBMB Today and at www.asbmb.org.
Sneha Rao (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.