March 2010

Member Spotlight

Raines Wins Repligen Award

Spot---RainesRonald T. Raines, Henry Lardy professor of biochemistry and professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the recipient of the 2010 Repligen Award in Biological Chemistry. This lifetime achievement award, given annually by the American Chemical Society, recognizes outstanding contributions to the understanding of the chemistry of biological processes, with particular emphasis on structure, function and mechanism. Raines is the 25th winner of the Repligen Award.

The award honors Raines and his contributions and wide-ranging impact on science at the interface of chemistry and biology. His efforts have led to both understanding and real-world applications. He has provided fundamental insight on the stability of collagen, leading him to discover a new force— the n→π* interaction— that contributes to the conformational stability of nearly every protein. Raines discovered how to convert a human ribonuclease into a toxin with specificity for cancer cells. His ribonuclease is in a human clinical trial as an anti-cancer agent. Raines also has provided mechanistic insight on cellular-redox homeostasis. Finally, he has developed chemical processes to synthesize proteins and convert biomass into useful fuels and chemicals.

Silhavy Elected to GSA Board

Spot---SilhavyThomas J. Silhavy, Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis professor of molecular biology at Princeton University, was recently elected to the 2010 Genetics Society of America board of directors. He took office on Jan. 1 and will remain on the board for three years.

“We have a terrific group of new officers and directors this year, and I am looking forward to working with them as we build on GSA’s strengths and plan for our future. Their election to the board is a reflection of the esteem in which they are held by their peers and their commitment to serve the community,” said GSA Executive Director Sherry Marts in a statement.

A bacteriologist, Silhavy is particularly interested in protein targeting and signal transduction in bacteria such as E. coli. He was the first to identify a component of the E. coli protein secretion machinery and the first to describe a “two-component system”— a major family of bacterial regulatory elements that sense a variety of environmental signals and transduce the information to transcriptionally regulate gene expression.

Young Shares Jung Medical Award

Spot---YoungStephen G. Young, professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, has been named the recipient of the 2010 Ernst Jung Medical Award. He is being honored for his pioneering research on the mechanisms of lipid metabolism, particularly the elucidation of genetic defects in apolipoproteins, triglyceride-transport mechanisms and the role of farnesylated prelamin A in causing Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, a pediatric disease that leads to hair loss, heart attacks, strokes and other features of aging.

The Ernst Jung Medical Award, initiated in 1967 by Hamburg merchant and ship owner Ernst Jung and awarded since 1976, is given for pioneering research in medicine. Young shares the award with Peter Carmeliet of the Vesalius Research Center in Leuven, Belgium. As part of the award, both Young and Carmeliet will receive $215,000.

Past recipients of the Ernst Jung Medical Award have included Anthony S. Fauci, David D. Ho, Francis V. Chisari, Judah Folkman and Stuart A. Lipton.

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