April 2010

Member Spotlight

Knox Inducted into Missouri Academy

Spotlight---KnoxJames R. Knox, professor emeritus of molecular and cell biology at the University of Connecticut, is one of seven scientists recently inducted into the Missouri University of Science and Technology Academy of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

The academy was established in 2005 to continue the work of the former Foundation for Chemical Research, which was in existence from 1983 through 2005. The foundation worked with the alumni of the Missouri University of Science and Technology chemistry department to support and enhance the research and teaching goals of the department. Members of the academy are scientists who have made outstanding contributions to their profession.

Knox, who received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Missouri-Rolla, specializes in physical biochemistry and molecular biophysics. He has published more than 100 journal articles or book chapters and has given more than 120 invited lectures and talks. Knox also served on the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

The other six inductees are Bryan E. Breyfogle, Nuran Ercal, Maciej Gazicki-Lipman, Janet Lynn Kavandi, James Stoffer Jr. and Glenn E. Stoner.

Liao Honored with Two AIChE Institute Awards

Spotlight---LiaoJames C. Liao, chancellor’s professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, received two major American Institute of Chemical Engineers awards. He was honored with the James E. Bailey Award for Outstanding Contributions to the field of biological engineering and the Alpha Chi Sigma Award for Chemical Engineering Research.

The James Bailey Award is given to an individual who embodies the spirit of James Bailey, one who is a pioneer, a mentor, an innovator, an integrator of biology and engineering, a teacher and one who has made a great impact on the field of biological engineering. The Alpha Chi Sigma Award is given for outstanding accomplishments in fundamental or applied chemical engineering research.

“Professor Liao epitomizes the modern chemical engineer who uses the power of microorganisms to do new, creative chemistry of consequence for the chemical and fuels industry,” said Gregory Stephanopoulos of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and chair of the board for the Society for Biological Engineering, a technological community within the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. “His work has demonstrated how microbial biocatalysts can be engineered to catalyze bioconversions for the utilization of renewable resources, a major thrust of metabolic and biological engineering.”

Tzagoloff Garners Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal

Spotlight---TzagoloffAlexander Tzagoloff, Alan H. Kempner professor of biological sciences at Columbia University, has been awarded the Genetics Society of America’s Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal for lifetime contributions in the field of genetics.

Using yeast as a model system, Tzagoloff has defined the biogenesis and function of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. He was the first to systematically define the nearly 400 nuclear genes (referred to as PET genes) required for respiration in yeast. His work has not only influenced yeast researchers but has also affected research in human disease, apoptosis and cancer genetics. Through the years, he has developed an extensive collection of yeast strains that he has generously shared with colleagues worldwide.

The medal is named after Thomas Hunt Morgan, who received the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work with Drosophila and his “discoveries concerning the role played by the chromosome in heredity.” The GSA established the medal in 1981 to honor this classical geneticist, who was among those who laid the foundation for modern genetics.

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