July 2010

ASBMB Member Spotlight

Spotlight---FenselauFenselau Receives Award in Bioanalytical Chemistry

Catherine C. Fenselau, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Maryland, received the Ralph N. Adams Award in Bioanalytical Chemistry from Pittcon and the Friends of Ralph N. Adams this past spring. The recently established award honors Ralph Adams, a visionary researcher and pioneer in the application of advanced analytical methods to study state-of-the-art biomedical problems.

Fenselau’s research focuses on developing proteomic strategies for the analysis of changes in proteins in human cancer cells. She also explores mass-spectrometry-based methods for the rapid analysis of airborne microorganisms.

“The decision to give this award to me reflects the importance of mass spectrometry in biomedical research, its significant past contributions and its huge potential for critical future discoveries,” said Fenselau. “Mass spectrometry currently is the most rapidly evolving analytical technology, a claim supported by the award of the Nobel Prize to two mass spectroscopists in 2002, and most of us believe that ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet.’”

Pittcon is an annual conference organized by the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, a Pennsylvania not-for-profit educational corporation comprised of the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh and the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh.

Spotlight---StubbeStubbe and Walsh Garner Welch Award

Joanne Stubbe, Novartis professor of chemistry and biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Christopher T. Walsh, Hamilton Kuhn professor at Harvard Medical School, are the recipients of the 2010 Welch Award in Chemistry.

“These two scientists, longtime friends who share a passion for knowledge, have made hugely important contributions to our understanding of the chemistry of biological functions in the enzymes that make life possible. Their work has led to new Spotlight---Walshtherapeutic treatments, including new antibiotics and new cancer treatments, among other advances that improve the quality of life,” said Ernest H. Cockrell, chair of The Welch Foundation.

Stubbe has focused most of her career studying the mechanisms of enzymes involved in nucleotide metabolism, central to the biosynthesis of DNA and RNA. Her success in unraveling the specific steps in enzymatic reactions over the past four decades has had profound impacts on fields ranging from cancer drug development to synthesis of biodegradable plastics.

Walsh’s primary focus is on understanding the mechanisms by which enzymes bring about chemical transformations in biological systems. His group currently is exploring the biosynthesis of natural product antibiotics and the chemical logic and enzymatic machinery of how they are made in order to identify new antibiotics, antitumor agents and immunosuppressants and to improve the efficiency of production.

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