Member News

Member update: May 2019

Erik Chaulk
May 1, 2019

Bruns named Mr. Homecoming

Kerry BurnsKerry Bruns

Professor of chemistry Kerry Bruns has received the Southwestern University 2018 Mr. Homecoming Award.

Presented by the university’s alumni association, the Mr. Homecoming Award is given to a faculty member who has garnered the respect of former students.

Bruns earned his Ph.D. from New Mexico State University in 1987 and his B.A. from Western New Mexico University in 1981. In addition to teaching general chemistry and biochemistry courses, he leads Southwestern University’s premedical advisory committee, which provides professional development programming and handles the application process for students interested in attending medical school.

He also organizes the health care professionals’ breakfast at homecoming each year, providing students the opportunity to connect with alumni.

Bruns is retiring at the end of the year. Colleagues say he has had a significant, long-lasting impact upon the Southwestern community.

Nita–Lazar promoted to senior investigator

Aleksandra Nita-LazarAleksandra Nita−Lazar

Aleksandra Nita–Lazar was promoted in December to senior investigator with the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Nita–Lazar leads the Functional Cellular Networks Section, which focuses on understanding protein modifications involved in cell signaling as well as absolute quantification of molecular representation and interaction.

After obtaining her Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Basel in 2003, Nita–Lazar completed postdoctoral training at Stony Brook University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Gottesman named visiting professor

Susan GottesmanSusan Gottesman

Susan Gottesman is among four individuals announced in December as new Vallee visiting professors.

The visiting professor program sponsored by the Vallee Foundation promotes intellectual exchange and scientific partnership by offering senior scientists an opportunity to work at premier biomedical research institutes.

A National Institutes of Health distinguished professor, Gottesman is co-chief in the laboratory of molecular biology and head of the biochemical genetics section at the National Cancer Institute.

Gottesman’s research focuses on post-transcriptional mechanisms of regulation in bacterial systems.

As a Vallee visiting professor, Gottesman will spend a one-month sabbatical in another lab of her choice.

Basu, Varshney elected to World Academy

Joyoti BasuJoyoti Basu Umesh VarshneyUmesh Varshney

Joyoti Basu and Umesh Varshney are among 46 new fellows elected to the World Academy of Sciences.

Founded in 1983, the World Academy of Sciences is a global organization based in Trieste, Italy, that seeks to promote science in developing countries and works to support sustainable prosperity through research, education, policy and diplomacy.

Basu is a J.C. Bose national fellow in the department of chemistry, Bose Institute, Kolkata, India. She has contributed significant research in the area of Mycobacterium tuberculosis pathogenesis.

Varshney is professor in the department of microbiology and cell biology and chair of the division of biological sciences at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. Varshney’s lab uses E. coli to study mechanistic aspects of protein synthesis and DNA repair.

The election of this new class represents efforts to increase the ratio of women in the organization as well as scientists from countries that have been underrepresented or unrepresented in the academy’s membership.

Corbett receives mentoring award

Anita CorbettAnita Corbett

Emory University biology professor Anita Corbett has won the 2018 Nature Award for Mentoring in Science.

First conferred in 2005, this award focuses on a specific country or region each year, recognizing individuals for outstanding scientific mentorship. The award consists of two prizes of $10,000, one awarded for midcareer mentorship and one for lifetime achievement in mentorship.

Corbett is a biochemist, and her research primarily focuses on determining the function of evolutionarily conserved RNA binding proteins.

Mentorship has played a significant role in Corbett’s career. Susan Wente, a Vanderbilt University professor and chair of the judging committee for the award, stated in a Nature press release that Corbett “reaches outside of her own laboratory and is a leader at her university and in her field, with a passion for gender equity.”

Corbett is one of four scientists to receive the 2018 awards and shares the midcareer achievement award with Kjersti Aagaard, Baylor College of Medicine.

In memoriam: Hugh Forrest

Hugh ForrestHugh ForrestFormer University of Texas professor Hugh Forrest died Nov. 16. He was 94.

The youngest of five sons, Forrest was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland. He remained in Scotland for his undergraduate studies, graduating from the University of Glasgow in 1944.

He earned his first Ph.D. in 1947 studying therapeutic chemical compounds at the University of London and earned a second Ph.D. in 1951 from the University of Cambridge researching pteridine biosynthesis.

Forrest left for the United States in 1951 after receiving a U.S. Public Health Service fellowship at the California Institute of Technology, where he continued his research into pteridines.

In 1955, Forrest joined the University of Texas at Austin as a postdoctoral fellow. He remained there for nearly five decades, becoming a professor in 1962 and a professor emeritus in 1993.

Forrest served as a mentor to numerous postgraduate students during his tenure.

The University of London awarded him a doctor of science degree in 1970, and he was elected as a fellow to the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1979.

He is survived by his three children, Eleanor, Anne and Hugh, and his six grandchildren.

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Erik Chaulk

Erik Chaulk is a peer review coordinator and digital publications Web specialist for the ASBMB.

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