Member Spotlight

Benning promoted to Distinguished Professor

Christoph Benning, who studies polar lipids in the photosynthetic membrane and their synthesis at Michigan State University, was promoted to Distinguished Professor.

ASBMB Annual Awards to Lipid Research Division Members

Jean Schaffer, a board-certified cardiologist and researcher affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School, won the 2020 Avanti Award in Lipids, which recognizes outstanding research contributions in the area of lipids and includes a $3,000 cash prize. Schaffer is moving her lab to Harvard this month after having led the Diabetic Cardiovascular Disease Center and Diabetes Research Center at Washington University in St. Louis. She is an associate editor for the Journal of Lipid Research, an ASBMB peer-reviewed publication.

Edward Dennis, a distinguished professor at the University of California, San Diego, won the Bert and Natalie Vallee Award in Biomedical Science. The award, which was established by the Bert and N. Kuggie Vallee Foundation in 2012, recognizes international achievements in the sciences basic to medicine and carries a $10,000 cash prize. Dennis is a former chair of UCSD’s chemistry and biochemistry department and has led the faculty senate. He was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1984. He served as editor-in-chief for the Journal of Lipid Research, an ASBMB peer-reviewed publication, and is a past winner of the society’s Avanti Award in Lipids.

Jeremy Baskin, an assistant professor at Cornell University, 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. Baskin in 2017 won the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation’s Beckman Young Investigator Award, which came with a $750,000 research grant.

Zechner elected to National Academy of Sciences

Rudolf Zechner, a professor at the Institute of Molecular Biosciences at the University of Graz in Austria, was recently elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences as a foreign associate. Zechner’s research focuses on molecular mechanisms of lipolysis and lipid synthesis in various tissues, both healthy and cancerous.

Calling all lipid researchers!

The LRD wants YOU to participate in our annual survey of lipid expertise. We’re building a database of possible grant reviewers to pass on to program officers at funding agencies. If you’ve ever complained that your study section doesn’t know enough about lipids, here’s your chance to fix the problem. Click here to start the survey, which takes less than 5 minutes. In the words of Membership Committee chair Binks Wattenberg, “The grant you save may be your own.”

Coppens elected to American Academy of Microbiology

Isabelle Coppens, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has been elected to the American Academy of Microbiology. Coppens studies how obligate intracellular parasites, like Toxoplasma and Plasmodium, interact with the host, including their dependence on host lipids.

Rock joins American Academy of Microbiology

Charles “Chuck” Rock was one of 109 new fellows elected to the American Academy of Microbiology this January. Rock, a professor in the Infectious Diseases department at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, studies regulation of prokaryotic lipid metabolism.

Hannun and Obeid share Lifetime Achievement Award

The Eicosanoid Research Foundation has announced that Yusuf Hannun and Lina Obeid of Stony Brook University will receive its 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award for their work on ceramide physiology and the role of sphingolipids in aging. The award will be presented at the foundation’s October meeting in St. Petersburg, Florida. Congratulations, sphingolipid pioneers!

Early-career researchers in the spotlight

Five early-career investigators from the labs of JLR editorial board members will present their work in a special symposium on Monday, April 8 at the ASBMB annual meeting in Orlando. Meet these promising scientists and learn more about their work in a series of articles in ASBMB Today.

Vance’s seminal work recognized in Nature feature

Jean Vance of the University of Alberta in Edmonton stars in a feature article from Nature titled “How secret conversations inside cells are transforming biology.” Vance’s finding that phospholipid synthetic enzymes cluster at contact points between the ER and mitochondria, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, was an early landmark in studies of communication between organelles.

Ntambi to join ASBMB Council

James Ntambi, professor of Biochemistry and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a longtime member of the Lipid Research Division, was elected to the Council of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Ntambi’s research focuses on the role of stearoyl-CoA desaturases in physiology.