December 2013

Member update

Hood wins Research!America award
By Kausik Datta

Leroy Hood

An innovator and pioneer in many biomedical fields, Leroy Hood has been honored for his life’s work with the 2014 Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award instituted by Research!America, a nonprofit education and advocacy alliance based in Alexandria, Va. This accolade is the latest to recognize Hood’s seminal contribution to genomics research, including the mapping of the human genome.
A visionary physician-scientist, Hood fostered the evolution of automation in wide-scale studies of genes and proteins, developing instruments (including the DNA sequencer) to bring ease and efficiency of performance as well as precision in genomics and proteomics research, thereby revolutionizing these fields of science, which regularly generate and parse immense amounts of information.
For these accomplishments, Hood earlier received the 2002 Kyoto Prize, the National Academy of Engineering’s 2011 Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize (considered the pinnacle of bioengineering honors) and the 2011 National Medal of Science.
Hood also has advanced humanity’s knowledge of the genetics and structure of antibodies, which earned him the 1987 Lasker Award, and made significant contributions to neurobiology. In addition, he developed the field of systems biology, bringing computational approaches to biomedicine and visualizing human health as a sum total of various networks, which was recognized by the 2006 Heinz Award.

Choudhary named EMBO young investigator
Chunaram ChoudharyChunaram Choudhary of the University of Copenhagen was one of 23 young researchers honored this year by the European Molecular Biology Organization. The program supports researchers under 40 years old who established their first labs within the past four years. As an EMBO young investigator, Choudhary will receive 15,000 euros annually for three years. The program also includes lab-management and other professional-development training, access to core facilities at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, and funding for meeting attendance and travel.
Hirschberg wins 2013 Rosalind Kornfeld Award
Carlos HirschbergCarlos Hirschberg, a professor and the founding chairman of the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine’s molecular and cell biology department, has been honored by the Society for Glycobiology with the 2013 Rosalind Kornfeld Award. The award is issued to researchers who have made significant contributions to the field over their lifetimes. In a statement, the society said that Hirschberg’s “work is so well established and so much part of the standard description of glycosylation processes that some take it for granted. No textbook figure or review article diagram of glycosylation in the secretory pathway can be drawn without showing the essential roles of the transporters Hirschberg and his group identified.” In short, Hirschberg’s team is credited with determining how nucleotide sugars cross biological membranes; discovering novel transporters in the membranes of the Golgi apparatus and the endoplasmic reticulum; and purifying, cloning and elucidating the mechanisms of several multi-transmembrane spanning proteins. Also, his group purified, cloned and functionally expressed, for the first time, the heparan sulfate N-sulfotransferase and demonstrated that is has N-deacetylase activity.

Six members elected to Institute of Medicine

Institute of Medicine insignia
  • • Phyllis A. Dennery, University of Pennsylvania and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • • Eric R. Fearon, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • • Richard D. Kolodner, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research
  • • Danny Reinberg, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and New York University School of Medicine
  • • J. Evan Sadler, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis
  • • Christopher A. Walsh, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
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