November 2009

ASBMB MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Lindquist Is Oesper Awardee

Susan Lindquist

Susan L. Lindquist, professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the winner of the 2009 Ralph & Helen Oesper Award for her pioneering work on protein folding.

The Oesper Award, co-sponsored by the Cincinnati section of the American Chemical Society and the University of Cincinnati's department of chemistry, is given annually to a senior, well-established chemist or biochemist with a long record of outstanding scientific achievement. Lindquist received her award during a symposium at the University of Cincinnati in October.

Lindquist, a member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, uses biochemistry and genetics to investigate the mechanisms of protein folding and the consequences of misfolding. Her work has shown how changes in protein conformation affect processes such as stress tolerance, neurodegenerative disease and heredity. Her group has pioneered the use of yeast as a discovery platform for new chemical and genetic therapies for neurological conditions such as Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases.

O'Neill Wins Boyle Medal

Luke O'Neill, a Journal of Biological Chemistry associate editor and professor in the school of biochemistry and immunology at Trinity College Dublin, has won the 2009 Irish Times Boyle Medal for Scientific Excellence. He was given the award for "his pioneering work on the molecular basis of our innate immune system and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis," according to The Irish Times.

 The Irish Times also stated that the seven people on the international judging panel invited to Dublin to adjudicate the 2009 award were unanimously in agreement that the prize should go to O'Neill. He and three other world-class scientists were shortlisted for the Boyle Medal award last May.

The medal, considered Ireland's premier award for excellence in scientific research, is presented to scientists who have made contributions of global importance to their chosen research fields. O'Neill is the 37th recipient since its inception 110 years ago.

The main focus of O'Neill's work is to provide a molecular understanding of innate immunity and inflammation. He is particularly interested in receptors involved in innate immunity, such as Toll-like receptors and Nod-like receptors, and the signals they activate, including NF-kB, IRF family transcription factors and MAP kinases.

O'Neill also co-founded Opsona Therapeutics, a drug development company.

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