George Carman: An introduction to the ASBMB’s Lipid Research Division
Cho joins AAAS
The ASBMB announced Oct. 31 that LRD member Kerry-Anne Rye of the University of New South Wales Sydney and Nicholas O. Davidson of Washington University in St. Louis will be the next editors-in-chief of the Journal of Lipid Research.
Rye runs the lipid research group at the School of Medical Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine at UNSW Sydney. She has been an associate editor for JLR since 2008. Davidson leads the gastroenterology division and the digestive disease research center at Wash U’s medical school and has been an associate editor for JLR since 2011. Their joint five-year term as co-editors will begin Jan. 1.
In the September issue of ASBMB Today, LRD member Gerry Hammond of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine writes, in part: “Controlling these PM proteins poses a unique challenge in eukaryotes; the proteins must be targeted correctly and activated at the PM and not at the many other membrane organelles connected by vesicular traffic. For example, a calcium channel should not become activated after synthesis in the endoplasmic reticulum, nor should machinery tasked with pulling vesicles from the PM pull them from endosomes instead. In short, the PM needs a unique chemical identity that proteins can recognize.” Read his column.
Congratulations to the 2018 Lipid Division Award Lecturers!
Be sure to attend the awardees’ lectures at the 2019 ASBMB Annual Meeting, held in conjunction with Experimental Biology, in April in Orlando.
Shu Sin Chng, an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore, won the Walter Shaw Young Investigator Award in Lipids. The award was established by ASBMB’s Lipid Research Division and recognizes outstanding research contributions in the area of lipids by young investigators who are assistant professors (or equivalent) with no more than 10 years of experience since receiving their degrees (Ph.D. and/or M.D.). It includes a $2,000 cash prize.
Vytas Bankaitis, a professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, won the Avanti Award in Lipids, which recognizes outstanding research contributions in the area of lipids and includes a $3,000 cash prize. Bankaitis is a past director of the ASBMB Lipid Research Division. He has served on the ASBMB’s meeting program planning committee as well.
Helen Hobbs, a professor at the University of Texas Southwestern and a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator, received the Institut de France Grand Prix Scientifique, one of the most prestigious prizes for cardiovascular research. Hobbs is known for her discovery that mutations in the protein PCSK9 lower levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol through population genetics research in the Dallas Heart Study, which she co-founded, and has since identified further metabolic risk genes in that cohort. Hobbs shared the award with Catherine Boileau of France and Nabil Seidah of Canada, who made related discoveries about the link between PCSK9 and cholesterol metabolism.
The late Al Alberts (1931–2018), a researcher who worked at NIH, Washington University at St. Louis, and Merck, discovered the cholesterol lowering drug lovastatin. After suffering a heart attack at age 87, he joked about becoming famous on the cardiovascular ward when clinicians learned about his life’s work. Read a remembrance by his lifelong colleague Roy Vagelos in ASBMB Today.
Lewis Cantley, of Weill Cornell Medicine, presented the Journal of Lipid Research/Keynote lecture at a FASEB conference on phospholipids in health and disease in Colorado in July. Cantley’s lecture was titled, “PI 3-Kinase: Linking obesity, insulin resistance and cancer.”
Yves Louis Marcel, an emeritus professor at the University of Ottawa, passed away early in 2018. Marcel studied high-density lipoproteins, the structure of ApoA1, and reverse cholesterol transport. He was founder and chief scientific officer of the Atherosclerosis Research Group at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, and directed the university’s High-Density Lipoprotein Biology Laboratory until his retirement in 2013.
Tybjaerg-Hansen receives JLR Lectureship
The Journal of Lipid Research Distinguished Lectureship was presented to Dr. Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen at the International Symposium on Atherosclerosis 2018 in Toronto. Dr. Tybjaerg-Hansen is a clinical professor at the University of Copenhagen, specializing in population genetics of metabolic diseases. Her lecture was titled “Interrelationship between lipids, liver and cardiovascular disease.” JLR Associate Editor Dr. Henry Ginsberg of Columbia University presented the award.
Jean E. Vance of the University of Alberta has published a new review article in the Journal of Lipid Research’s “Living History of Lipids” review series. It is a comprehensive history of the discovery and characterization of two ubiquitous phospholipids: phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylethanolamine. PS and PE captured Vance’s interest when she was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, San Diego, working in the lab of Daniel Steinberg. (Steinberg wrote the first installment in the “Living History” series).
“My interest in what I felt were the rather neglected phospholipids, PS and PE, arose from some of my preliminary data suggesting that phospholipids could be compartmentalized into distinct pools in cells, perhaps due to specific inter-organelle lipid trafficking events,” Vance recalled. “(M)y research evolved into studying the biosynthesis, cell biology and functions of PS and PE in mammalian cells.” Her investigation into how PS is transferred from its site of synthesis in the ER into mitochondria, where it is decarboxylated to form PE, led to the discovery of mitochondria-associated membranes, or MAMs.
Helen Hobbs, a professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, won the 2018 Harrington Prize for Innovation in Medicine. Established in 2014 by the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the prize recognizes scientists who have conducted groundbreaking and creative research with potential for clinical impact.
Hobbs was honored for her discovery, together with co-primary investigator Jonathan Cohen, of a population-level link between variations in the gene PCSK9 and reductions in low-density lipoprotein level and cardiovascular disease risk. Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9, the protein encoded by the PCSK9 gene, directs the LDL receptor for lysosomal degradation instead of endosomal recycling. The discovery has led to new class of drugs for high cholesterol.
Hobbs has served on the faculty at UT Southwestern since 1987. There, she founded the Dallas Heart Study, a multiethnic, population-based study seeking to improve diagnosis, prevention and treatment of heart disease.
John E. Burke, an assistant professor in the department of biochemistry and microbiology at the University of Victoria, received the Walter A. Shaw Young Investigator Award in Lipid Research at the 2018 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Annual Meeting. The award recognizes his work on the structure and signal transduction of lipid kinases and phosphatases, especially in the PI3K and PI4K family.
“I am tremendously honored to be awarded the Walt Shaw Young Investigator Award in Lipid Research,” said Burke. “I am extremely appreciative to the nominators and ASBMB. This award is only possible due to the work and support of my incredible network of mentors, trainees and collaborators.” Congratulations, Dr. Burke!
Did you miss his award lecture, “Probing the structure, dynamics and regulation of lipid signaling enzymes,” at ASBMB2018? Listen here on Soundcloud.
LRD member Dennis R. Voelker received the Avanti Award in Lipids at ASBMB’s 2018 Annual Meeting for his seminal contributions to lipid biology. Voelker, the Director of Research of the pulmonary division of the department of medicine at National Jewish and a professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at the University of Colorado, Denver, has studied phospholipid-protein interactions for 37 years. He has worked on topics from lipid transport between organelles to membrane assembly. At present his lab studies phospholipid regulation of innate immunity. If you missed Dr. Voelker’s award lecture, entitled “Phospholipid regulation of inflammatory processes and viral infection,” you can listen here.
Walter Shaw, president, CEO, and founder of Avanti Polar Lipids, was presented the A.D. Bangham FRS Life Achievement Award for lifetime contribution to liposome research. This prestigious award was presented to Dr. Shaw at the ILS/LRD Liposome Advances Conference held in Athens, Greece, Sept. 16–18, 2017. The award is named in honor of Dr. Alec Douglas Bangham, a haematologist and British biophysicist who first studied blood clotting mechanisms but became well known for his research on liposomes and his invention of a clinically useful artificial lung surfactant. Alec Bangham abandoned a career in clinical pathology to become a research scientist with a 60-year career rich in discovery and innovation. He became known as the father of liposomes. Congratulations, Dr. Shaw, on this well-deserved honor.
Previous A.D. Bangham FRS Life Achievement Award winners include: Dr. Demetri Papahadjopoulos, Dr. Gregory Gregoriadis, Dr. Carl Alving, Dr. Chesi Barcholz, Dr. Lee Lesserman, Dr. Leaf Huang, Dr. Frank Szoka, Dr. Pieter Cullis, Dr. Terry Allen, Dr. Vladimir Torchilin, and Dr. Alberto Gabizon.
The lipid community is very saddened by the passing of H. Alex Brown on July 25 from cancer. Alex was a major contributor to the development of the lipidomics field through his early lipidomics characterization of the multitude of phospholipids and his enthusiastic and extensive participation in the LIPID MAPS initiative. Alex also served the lipid community as a member of the ASBMB Publications Committee and as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Lipid Research. We will all miss Alex.
You can find the Vanderbilt University press release here.
— Edward A. Dennis, Editor-in-Chief Journal of Lipid Research
One of our LRD members, Wonhwa Cho, Distinguished Professor or Chemical Biology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will receive the 2018 Biophysical Society Avanti Award in Lipids for his pioneering work in lipid biochemistry. He will officially receive this award at the 2018 Biophysical Society Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California, February 17-21, 2018. Avanti Polar Lipids, Inc., established this award for the Biophysical Society to recognize an investigator for outstanding contributions to our understanding of lipid biophysics. Wonhwa is an international leader in lipid biophysics and this award recognizes his pioneering work to develop biophysical approaches to understand the mechanisms of cellular lipid-protein, and lipid-mediated protein-protein interactions. He has developed numerous critical technologies for the in situ quantitative analyses of these processes on single molecule and systems biological levels.
Binks Wattenberg on the Lipid Research Division of the ASBMB
Congratulations to the 2017 Lipid Division Award Lecturers!
Avanti Award in Lipids
Volker Haucke, Leibniz Institut für Molekulare Pharmakologie
Phosphoinositide conversion in the endolysosomal system