November 2009

ASBMB MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

And Wand, the Benjamin Rush professor of biochemistry and biophysics in Philadelphia, was honored "for his numerous advances in the understanding of protein structure, function and dynamics through the application of state-of-the art magnetic resonance methodologies."

Two ASBMB Members Receive National Medals of Science

Stubbe
Stubbe
Fuchs
Fuchs

In September, President Obama named nine eminent researchers, including ASBMB members JoAnne Stubbe and Elaine Fuchs, as recipients of the National Medal of Science, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists, engineers and inventors. The recipients received their awards in a White House ceremony last month.

Stubbe, the Novartis professor of chemistry and a professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was honored "for her groundbreaking experiments establishing the mechanisms of ribonucleotide reductases, polyester synthases and natural product DNA cleavers — compelling demonstrations of the power of chemical investigations to solve problems in biology," according to the National Science Foundation.

Fuchs, Rebecca C. Lancefield professor and head of the laboratory of mammalian cell biology and development at Rockefeller University, was honored "for her pioneering use of cell biology and molecular genetics in mice to understand the basis of inherited diseases in humans and her outstanding contributions to our understanding of the biology of skin and its disorders, including her notable investigations of adult skin stem cells, cancers and genetic syndromes."

The National Medal of Science was created in 1959 and is administered by the NSF. Awarded annually, the medal recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering. Nominees are selected, by a committee of presidential appointees, based on their advanced knowledge in, and contributions to, the biological, behavioral/social and physical sciences, as well as chemistry, engineering, computing and mathematics.

IN MEMORIAM:
Zofia Borowska-Rzucidlo

Zofia Borowska-Rzucidlo, professor emeritus at Rockefeller University and discoverer of edeine, died in June in San Francisco.

Borowska-Rzucidlo was born in Lublin, Poland, on May 13, 1927. She received her master's degree in chemistry in 1950 and her doctoral degree in biochemistry in 1958, both from the Gdańsk University of Technology in Poland. She then became an assistant professor at the Institute of Marine and Tropical Medicine in Gdańsk. In 1961, Borowska-Rzucidlo was awarded a research fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation and emigrated to the U.S., where she became a guest investigator at the Institute of Microbiology at Rutgers University. A year later, she became a research associate at the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research. In 1962, Borowska-Rzucidlo moved again, this time joining the faculty of Rockefeller University, where she remained for the rest of her career, eventually becoming a senior research associate.

Borowska-Rzucidlo's early research in Poland focused on basic peptide antibiotics. After coming to the United States, she continued to work on edeine and amino acids but also expanded the scope of her research to hepatitis C, other viruses as well as the photochemical origins of life. After retiring, Borowska-Rzucidlo spent her time drawing and writing poems in Polish and English under the pen name Sota Kurylo. She eventually published three volumes of poems: "Wyspa Wspomnień" ("The Island of Memories") in 1997, "The Play of Time" in 2001 and "Jeszcze siç wznoszç" ("I Am Still Ascending") in 2004. She also published numerous poems in journals and anthologies.

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