June 2010

Member Spotlight

Spotlight---MahleyMahley Presented with Advocacy Award

Robert W. Mahley, president emeritus of The J. David Gladstone Institutes, has received Research!America’s 2010 Builders of Science Award. According to Research!America, the award “recognizes his leadership as Gladstone’s founding director and president, guiding its growth to become one of the world’s foremost independent research institutions, known for its groundbreaking basic science and substantial impact on disease prevention.”

In 1979, Mahley was recruited to lead the new Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease. He was instrumental in the creation of the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology in 1992 and the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease in 1998. In 2004, Mahley led the institutes’ move to a new, state-of-the-art home at the University of California, San Francisco’s Mission Bay campus, enhancing Gladstone’s collaborative, entrepreneurial culture by bringing all three institutes into one building.

Mahley stepped down as Gladstone’s president this past March. He continues to do research on apolipoprotein (apo) E and its role in heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and neurodegeneration. His studies have led to an understanding of the mechanisms by which apoE causes Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. Mahley also is a professor of pathology and medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

In Memoriam: Roy L. Whistler

Roy L. Whistler, emeritus Hillenbrand distinguished professor of biochemistry at Purdue University, died Feb. 7.

Whistler was born in 1912, in Tiffin, Ohio. He attended Heidelberg College, where he received his Bachelor of Science, The Ohio State University, where he earned his Master of Science and Iowa State University, where he received his doctoral degree. He began his professional career at the U.S. National Bureau of Standards (1938 – 1940), then became Head of the Starch Structure Group of the United States Department of Agriculture Northern Regional Research Laboratory at Peoria, Ill. (1940 – 1945), before coming to Purdue University.

Whistler contributed to many aspects of carbohydrate chemistry but was best known for his pioneering research on polysaccharides and for promoting their industrial application. For example, he foresaw the industrial potential of the guar plant, promoted it as a new commercial crop, determined the structure of the main constituent of guar gum and was instrumental in the development of the guar gum industry. He also perceived the industrial potential of starch amylase, and, with H. H. Kramer, a corn geneticist at Purdue, developed the first high-amylose corn, also now a valuable commercial crop.

The Roy L. Whistler Award of the International Carbohydrate Organization and the Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research at Purdue University are named in his honor.

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