December 2011

Tabor Award winners


Kazuhiro Abe was named the winner at the 13th International ATPase Conference held in late September in Pacific Grove, Calif., and attended by Journal of Biological Chemistry Associate Editor Jerry Lingrel. Photo courtesy of Jlynn Frazier.

Pumped up about ATPases  

Kazuhiro Abe, a postdoctoral researcher at Kyoto University, won a Journal of Biological Chemistry/Herb Tabor Award for his studies of the molecular mechanisms of a P-type ATPase.

A native of Sapporo, Japan, Abe earned his Ph.D. at Hokkaido University under Kazuya Taniguchi. There, using classical kinetics and single-molecule fluorescence measurements, his thesis was on the mechanism of gastric H+/K+-ATPase. He subsequently moved to Kyoto University to work under Yoshinori Fujiyoshi and do structural work on H+/K+-ATPase.

“Gastric H+/K+-ATPase has the remarkable task of pumping protons,” Abe says. “But there are many remaining questions, and I do hope to be able to answer them in the near future -- from the structural and functional point of view.”





Clever cytokine work  

Tabor_Mangan   Tabor_Vigne 
Niamh Mangan was named a Tabor award winner at the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research meeting held in October in Florence, Italy, and attended by Journal of Biological Chemistry Associate Editors Charles Samuel and Luke O'Neill.  Solenne Vigne was named a Tabor award winner at the International Cytokine Society’s meeting held in October in Florence, Italy, and attended by Journal of Biological Chemistry Associate Editors Charles Samuel and Luke O'Neill.


Niamh Mangan and Solenne Vigne were named winners of Tabor awards at a joint meeting of two organizations dedicated to cytokine and interferon research.

Mangan, a postdoctoral fellow at Monash University in Australia, was recognized for her work on the role of interferon cytokine and receptor signaling in immune regulation in infection and inflammation – and, more specifically, the characterization of the cytokine interferon epsilon, which may be important for infections in the female reproductive tract.

Mangan earned her Ph.D. in 2005 at Trinity College Dublin, where she studied the cellular mechanisms of modulation and suppression of the immune response using mouse models, and she completed a postdoctoral stint at Trinity College before being recruited to work in Australia with Paul Hertzog at the Monash Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne.

Solenne Vigne, a postdoc at the University of Geneva, was recognized for her work showing that IL-36 cytokines exert stimulatory effects on dendritic cells and T helper cells, leading to a predominant type 1 helper response in vitro and in vivo.

“These results demonstrate for the first time a critical role for these cytokines in the stimulation of innate and adaptive immune responses,” Vigne says. “Therefore, our findings indicate that these cytokines may represent potential targets for immune-mediated inflammatory conditions.”



Stephan Reitinger was named the winner at the 7th International Conference on Proteoglycans held in October in Sydney, Australia, and attended by Journal of Biological Chemistry Associate Editor Vincent Hascall.

On top while Down Under  

Stephan Reitinger, a researcher at the Institute for Biomedical Aging Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, was named a Tabor award winner for his structural studies that identified a hyaluronan unbinding domain that governs the enzymatic activity of hyaluronidases.

Reitinger, who collaborated with researchers from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the University College Dublin, Ireland, is interested in how the activation of hyaluronidases is controlled by a bulky surface loop near the active site. His hyaluronan metabolism work is supported by a Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant from the European Commission.

Reitinger completed both his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Salzburg, Austria, and a postdoctoral stint at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.





Lydia Chávez-Vargas was named the winner at the Cell Signaling Networks Conference held in late October in Merida, Mexico, and attended by Journal of Biological Chemistry Associate Editor Judith Bond.

A nice mix of experiences  

Lydia Chávez-Vargas, a graduate student at Mexico’s Center for Research and Advanced Studies at the National Polytechnic Institute, won her Tabor award for her studies of the molecular intricacies of endothelial-cell migration in response to angiogenic signals acting on chemotactic G-protein-coupled receptors

Chávez-Vargas, a native of Morelia, Mexico, studied biochemical engineering as an undergraduate and worked for a pharmaceutical company after graduation before continuing her studies at CINVESTAV under the mentorship of José Vázquez-Prado.

Her overall project will contribute to (a) our understanding of signaling pathways’ roles in activating Rho GTPases in tumor-induced angiogenesis and (b) the identification of novel antiangiogenic targets.




Wound-healing studies recognized 

Ulrich auf dem Keller was named the winner at the 7th General Meeting of the International Proteolysis Society held in October in San Diego and attended by Journal of Biological Chemistry Associate Editor Judith Bond.

Ulrich auf dem Keller, a senior research assistant and junior group leader at ETH Zurich, won his Tabor award for his studies of proteolytic events in the skin.

Auf dem Keller, a native of Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany, completed his undergraduate studies at the Universities of Tübingen and Munich and his graduate studies at ETH Zurich, where he worked under Sabine Werner and focused on cytoprotection of keratinocytes in the skin. He later completed a postdoctoral stint with Chris Overall at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and then returned to the ETH Zurich unit led by Werner.

Auf dem Keller was recognized for identifying, along with Paul Hartmann AG, proteolytic signatures in the acute wound-healing process.

"In future work, those signatures will be compared to signatures from impaired skin repair, such as in diabetes," auf dem Keller says. "The final goal is to apply this knowledge in the clinics for assessing if a wound might turn bad and for defining the appropriate strategy for therapeutic intervention."

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