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Honors for Castel, Kelch and Parks

ASBMB Today Staff
June 17, 2024

Biochemical Society honors Castel

Pau Castel

The Biochemical Society awarded Pau Castel the Early Career Research Award. He was recognized for his excellence in the field as well as a strong commitment to build, support and nurture the next generation of scientists. Castel will receive his prize and deliver an award lecture at a Biochemical Society meeting in 2025.

Castel is an assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular pharmacology at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine. His research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of oncoprotein transformation in cancer and congenital disorders as well as developing rationally based therapeutic strategies for these disorders. Using biochemical, cell signaling, mouse modeling and pharmacological approaches, his laboratory studies the RAS/mitogen-activated protein kinase, or MAPK, pathway and its regulation by ubiquitin and the proteasome.

Castel did his graduate work at the laboratory of Jose Baselga at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He pursued a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco in the laboratory of Frank McCormick, and he focused on the biochemical mechanisms governing RAS/MAPK signal transduction.

“I am honored to be recognized by the Biochemical Society, a historical institution in our field,” Castel said. “This award not only signifies an acknowledgement to my previous work but also serves as a motivation for my lab’s future research.”

Kelch receives education award

Brian Kelch

The University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School awarded Brian Kelch the Educational Service Award in April. Kelch was recognized for his mentoring and teaching contributions to the next generation of scientists. Awardees are nominated by both students and faculty members.

Kelch is an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biotechnology at UMass. His research investigates the functionality of macromolecular machines, including machines that aid in virus assembly and DNA replication and repair.  Understanding how these machines work could lead to new targets for the development of novel cancer therapeutics, antivirals and antibiotics.

Kelch earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology from the University of California, San Francisco. He then performed postdoctoral work at UC Berkeley supported by a National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award. In 2014, Kelch was named a Pew Scholar.

Kelch received the award and was honored at the Educational Recognition Awards ceremony at UMass.

Parks awarded research fellowship

Kasey Parks

Kasey Parks has been awarded the Daniel E. Atkinson and Charles A. West undergraduate research fellowship in metabolic research the University of California, Los Angeles.

Parks is an undergraduate in chemistry at UCLA. She performs research in the laboratory of Danielle Schmitt, an assistant professor of biochemistry. Parks is currently studying the role of 5′ AMP-activated protein kinase in redox homeostasis.

At Discover BMB 2024 in San Antonio, Parks presented a poster titled “Illuminating compartmentalized AMPK signaling in single cells.” Prior to attending UCLA, she graduated from Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

The fellowship’s namesakes, Atkinson and West, played a major role in developing and growing the biochemistry department at UCLA. During their tenure, they recruited more than 18 faculty members to the department. Atkinson died recently, and West is now retired; Atkinson joined the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1957; West joined in 1966 and remains an emeritus member.

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