Award

Malhotra recognized
with ASBMB–Merck Award

Lauren Amable
By Lauren Amable
Feb. 22, 2013

Vivek Malhotra, chairman of the cell and developmental biology program at the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, has been named the winner of the 2013 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology-Merck Award for his studies in understanding the mechanisms and machinery of membrane trafficking and Golgi function and biogenesis.

Vivek Malhotra

Malhotra began his research as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of James Rothman, where he provided insight into the NSF protein in vesicle fusion and isolated the famous COPI-coated vesicles. In his nomination letter for Malhotra, Rothman said, “Malhotra is a very prominent senior cell biologist whose many contributions stand out not only in their substance but also because they are characterized by bold imagination and the development of new concepts.”

For the next 18 years, Malhotra was a professor at the University of California, San Diego. There he contributed numerous discoveries to the field. He identified a natural product from sponges called ilimaquinone, or IQ, which triggers the disruption of Golgi organization. These discoveries led to the establishment of the involvement of heterotrimeric G proteins, protein kinase D and diacylglycerol in vesicle formation and cell-surface transportation.

Malhotra’s research addressed the controversy of Golgi membrane fate during mitosis and identified a new cell-cycle checkpoint. He demonstrated that fragmentation of Golgi membranes is required for mitosis entry. The fragmented Golgi membranes then serve as templates for the formation of Golgi stacks in daughter cells.

Finally, Malhotra identified novel components in secretion after performing a genomewide screen in Drosophila. From that, he discovered a set of components necessary for Golgi structure and function. These novel genes were labeled transport and Golgi complex organization genes, or TANGOs. Aiding to the understanding of trafficking, Malhotra and colleagues recently reported unconventional protein secretion that bypasses the Golgi. This mode of secretion is mediated by autophagosome-like vesicles forming compartments called CUPS, for compartment for unconventional protein secretion.

Ari Helenius of the Institute of Biochemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, in his letter of support for Malhotra’s nomination, called him “an undisputed conceptual leader in the field of membrane transport.” Helenius continued: “In addition, he has been a pioneer in introducing new methodologies and experimental approaches.”

Malhotra will receive his award during the 2013 Experimental Biology conference in Boston, where he will deliver an award lecture. The presentation will take place at 9:05 a.m. April 22 at the Boston Convention and Exposition Center.

The ASBMB–Merck Award recognizes scientists with outstanding contributions to biochemistry and molecular biology research. It provides a plaque and $5,000 and covers transportation and expenses to attend the ASBMB annual meeting to present a lecture.

Lauren Amable
Lauren Amable

Lauren Amable is a staff scientist at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Join the ASBMB Today mailing list

Sign up to get updates on articles, interviews and events.

Latest in People

People highlights or most popular articles

Part 1: ‘Aha moments’ essay contest honorable mentions
Contest

Part 1: ‘Aha moments’ essay contest honorable mentions

May 6, 2021

To celebrate our three journals going open access, we invited readers to share their moments of discovery in science. Here are two honorable mentions.

Share your aha moments!
Editor's Note

Share your aha moments!

May 4, 2021

How a brainstorming session produced two videos, an essay contest and gratitude.

Winners of the ‘aha moments’ essay contest
Contest

Winners of the ‘aha moments’ essay contest

May 4, 2021

To celebrate our three journals going open access, we invited readers to share their moments of discovery in science. Here are the first, second and third place winners.

Stoddard wins mentoring award; Do honored as scholar–athlete
Member News

Stoddard wins mentoring award; Do honored as scholar–athlete

May 3, 2021

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

ASBMB welcomes new members
Member News

ASBMB welcomes new members

May 3, 2021

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology welcomed more than 340 new members in January.

The 17th-century cloth merchant who discovered the vast realm of tiny microbes
News

The 17th-century cloth merchant who discovered the vast realm of tiny microbes

May 2, 2021

Although untrained in science, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek became the greatest lens-maker of his day, discovered microscopic life forms and is known today as the “father of microbiology.”