Award

Tesmer wins ASBMB Young Investigator Award

Angela Hopp Nick Zagorski
By Angela Hopp and Nick Zagorski
Jan. 25, 2010

John Tesmer, a research associate professor at the Life Sciences Institute and the department of pharmacology at the University of Michigan Medical School, has been named the winner of the 2010 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Young Investigator Award (formerly known as the ASBMB/Schering-Plough Research Institute Award), which honors outstanding research contributions to biochemistry and molecular biology by individuals who have no more than 15 years of postdoctoral experience.

Tesmer

Tesmer will present an award lecture titled “Structural Analysis of Heterotrimeric G Proteins and G Protein-Coupled Receptor Kinases” at 8:30 a.m. Monday, April 26, at the 2010 annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif.

G protein-coupled receptor signaling pathways are responsible for a wide range of intracellular events and are an intense area of biological and pharmaceutical study. Researchers studying GPCR owe a lot to Tesmer and his group, who provided insight into GPCR signaling through their structural and functional analyses of G proteins.

Tesmer’s impressive array of contributions began in 1997, when he solved the atomic structure of RGS4 in a complex with Gαi1 while he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute postdoctoral fellow working with Stephen R. Sprang at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. This was the first structure of a regulator of G protein signaling, as well as the first structure of an RGS protein in complex with its target. Shortly thereafter, Tesmer solved the crystal structure of Gαs, both alone and in complex with the catalytic domains of adenylyl cyclase, the latter providing the first structure of a G protein-effector complex.

Since then, Tesmer, who double majored in biochemistry and English at Rice University and received his doctorate in biological sciences from Purdue University, has never looked back.

“Protein crystallography is often an extremely time-consuming, high-risk approach to answering questions about the molecular mechanisms of signal transduction,” said University of Michigan colleague Alan R. Saltiel. “However, in a very short time [John] has elegantly addressed many fundamental questions of heterotrimeric G protein signal transduction. His success is a clear demonstration of his perseverance, expertise, clear-mindedness and ability to effectively synergize with collaborators.”

Sprang, currently a professor and director of the Center for Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics at the University of Montana, agrees wholeheartedly. “Tesmer was among the most productive and creative postdoctoral fellows with whom I have had the honor to work,” he said. “Since he began his independent career as a junior faculty member at UT-Austin, and now at the University of Michigan, John has become a recognized leader in the structural biology of G protein signaling. Indeed, I would say with confidence that he is currently the most productive structural biologist working in this area.”

Today, Tesmer, who always has been scientifically intrigued by the processes by which cells sense extracellular signals, channels that productivity to determine various structures of signaling proteins regulated by heterotrimeric G proteins, particularly those that contain RGS homology (RH) domains.

Two of his favorite targets are GRK2, a kinase that is important for myocardiogenesis and regulation of heart contractility (for which he recently determined the atomic structure of GRK2 in complex with Gβγ) and leukemia-associated RhoGEF, or LARG, a protein that activates RhoA and thus represents one of the few well-defined links between heterotrimeric G proteins and small-molecular-weight G proteins. His group is currently working on determining the atomic structures of various fragments and complexes of LARG to better understand the mechanism of signal transduction from Gα13 to RhoA.

The 2010 ASBMB Young Investigator Award will add to the impressive honors already bestowed on this young and exciting researcher, including the Lyndon B. Johnson Research Award from the American Heart Association in 2000, a Cottrell Research Scholar award in 2002 and the University of Texas College of Natural Sciences Teaching Excellence Award in 2004.

Enjoy reading ASBMB Today?

Become a member to receive the print edition monthly and the digital edition weekly.

Learn more
Angela Hopp

Angela Hopp is executive editor of ASBMB Today and communications director for the ASBMB. 

Nick Zagorski
Nick Zagorski

Nick Zagorski is a former ASBMB science writer.

Get the latest from ASBMB Today

Enter your email address, and we’ll send you a weekly email with recent articles, interviews and more.

Latest in People

People highlights or most popular articles

ASCB honors Asai, Goley and Bagde
Member News

ASCB honors Asai, Goley and Bagde

Dec. 5, 2022

These three ASBMB members have won recognition from the American Society for Cell Biology.

ASBMB delegates leave their mark on policymaking
Feature

ASBMB delegates leave their mark on policymaking

Dec. 1, 2022

Advocacy Training Program participants use their new skills to improve their institutional environments, create new programs, draft policy recommendations, perform targeted outreach and more.

2022 Sewer scholarship winners announced
Society News

2022 Sewer scholarship winners announced

Nov. 28, 2022

The $2,000 award goes to undergraduates who demonstrate an interest in the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology and enhance the diversity of science.

Brought to you (mostly) by and for women
Annual Meeting

Brought to you (mostly) by and for women

Nov. 23, 2022

The ASBMB’s Women in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Committee has big plans for Discover BMB 2023.

Dedicated to sharing science
Student Chapters

Dedicated to sharing science

Nov. 21, 2022

Introduced to scientific research through her Tufts University ASBMB Student Chapter, Lema Abuoqab works to make sure other students can have the same experience.

Tolbert named HHMI VP; new phase for Hannun
Member News

Tolbert named HHMI VP; new phase for Hannun

Nov. 21, 2022

Awards, promotions, milestones and more. Find out what's going on in the lives of ASBMB members.