February 2010

ASBMB Member Spotlight

Paulson Honored with Karl Meyer Award

Spotlight---PaulsonJames C. Paulson, professor of chemical physiology and molecular biology at The Scripps Research Institute, was named the recipient of the Society for Glycobiology’s 2009 Karl Meyer Award.

The award, established in 1990 to honor Karl Meyer and his outstanding contributions to the field of glycobiology, is given to well-established scientists with active research programs who have made widely recognized contributions to the field of glycobiology.

Paulson is known as a leader in the chemical biology of carbohydrates and the biological function of glycoproteins and lectins. In his more than 30 years of research, he has made seminal discoveries and contributions to glycobiology. He was one of the first to use chemo-enzymatic synthesis of glycans as a tool to elucidate the functions of glycan binding proteins. His lab was also the first to clone and produce a family of recombinant sialyl transferases, which allowed large-scale synthesis of this synthetically challenging class of carbohydrates. His success in cloning of the first full-length glycosyltransferase, ST6Gal I, was a major achievement: It revealed the topology of glycosyltransferases with N-terminal signal anchors tethering the catalytic domain oriented to the lumen of secretory organelles and led to the production of recombinant glycosyltransferases for use as synthetic tools.

Steiner Wins Manpei Suzuki International Prize

Spotlight---SteinerDonald F. Steiner, A. N. Pritzker distinguished service professor emeritus in the departments of medicine and biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Chicago, has been awarded the Manpei Suzuki Diabetes Prize for 2009.

The prize, now two years old, is the largest award for diabetes research. It was established to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Manpei Suzuki Diabetes Foundation, and it honors “those who have enlightened researchers in the field of diabetes around the world with their original and excellent scientific achievements.” The prize includes a certificate of honor and $150,000.

The prize’s selection committee cited Steiner’s outstanding achievements over many years of research, including the discovery of proinsulin and characterization of the proinsulin processing pathway, clinical applications of a C-peptide radioimmunoassay for measuring endogenous insulin production and identification of a point mutation in the insulin gene causing various abnormalities in glucose metabolism.

“I am highly honored,” said Steiner. “It’s humbling to be recognized by my peers and gratifying to receive an award of this stature for my life’s work. I’m very grateful to my colleagues for the nomination and to the Manpei Suzuki Diabetes Foundation for this distinction.”

Schauer Shares Lifetime Achievement Award

Spotlight---SchauerRoland Schauer, professor of biochemistry emeritus at the University of Kiel in Germany, has been honored with the Society for Glycobiology’s 2009 Rosalind Kornfeld Award for Lifetime Achievement in Glycobiology. He shares the prize with Mary Catherine Glick of the University of Pennsylvania.

The Kornfeld Award was established in 2008 to honor Rosalind Kornfeld’s distinguished scientific career and service to the Glycobiology Society. It is given to scientists who have, over their professional lifetimes, made significant contributions that have had a large impact on the field.

Over the past 40 years, Schauer has contributed to the knowledge about the occurrence, structure, biosynthesis and functions of sialic acids. He discovered many new members of this sugar family and has isolated, characterized and cloned several of the key enzymes involved in the biosynthesis and degradation of a number of these compounds. In addition, he shed light on many of the functions of the sialic acids, such protecting cells from phagocytosis or serving as receptors for certain viruses. His work also has helped researchers understand many of the phenomena in which sialic acids are critically important, such as the control of cell and glycoprotein lifetime in the circulatory system, the adhesion of infectious agents to host cells and the recruitment of leukocytes to sites of inflammation.

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