April 2012

Member update

ASBMB members win Protein Society awards
member_update_bermanHelen M. Berman of Rutgers University won the Carl Brändén Award, which is given to an outstanding protein scientist who has made exceptional contributions in the areas of education and/or service to the science. In a statement, the society said Berman was recognized for her work toward enabling a freely available, worldwide archive of 3-D structural information. “Dr. Berman’s passion for making structural data accessible and understandable by a broad community has driven the development of the Protein Data Bank into a vital and accessible international resource for biology. Berman in the early 1970s was a champion of the open access of scientific information; albeit obvious today, the concept at that time of open access was truly visionary.”

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Barry Honig of Columbia University won the Christian B. Anfinsen Award, which recognizes significant technical achievements. Honig was singled out “for his contributions to our understanding of the electrostatic properties of proteins and the development of DelPhi and GRASP, which are among the most widely used programs in structural biology.” The society emphasized the value of Honig’s discoveries related to cell-cell adhesion and sequence-dependent protein-DNA recognition.

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Mark Lemmon of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine won the Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award for his significant contributions to the field of signal transduction and transmembrane signaling mechanisms of receptor tyrosine kinases. The society emphasized, “Crystallographic, biochemical and genetic studies from his laboratory have provided sophisticated mechanistic understanding of EGFR cell signaling. His discoveries of the mechanisms for the epidermal growth factor receptor family offer new venues for developing novel therapeutic approaches targeting cancer and other human diseases.”

Lindquist earns lifelong honor from EMBO
member_update_lindquistSusan Lindquist of the Whitehead Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was one of three scientists from the United States who became associate members of the European Molecular Biology Organization late last year. Lindquist, who is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, will now have a lifetime membership. To learn more about Lindquist’s work on protein folding, see recent features in the Feb. 15 issue of Nature and the Feb. 16 issue of New Scientist.

Smerdon’s career-long contributions lauded
member_update_smerdonMichael J. Smerdon of the School of Molecular Biosciences at Washington State University has won the 2012 Eminent Faculty Award, the highest honor the university offers, for career-long excellence. Smerdon, one of the first researchers to analyze how repair is influenced by the way DNA is packaged and to recognize that the repair response to genetic signals is turned on and off by environmental conditions, has served as a Journal of Biological Chemistry editorial board member and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2006, he was recognized as among the top 5 percent of extramural NIH grant awardees over the past 25 years.


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