Francis Collins: 'Now look where we are'


Francis Collins doesn’t need an introduction to the biomedical research community. Before he became the 16th director to take the helm of the 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health in 2009, Collins served as director of the NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute from 1993 to 2008 and led the NIH’s Human Genome Project. The project culminated in April 2003 with a reference sequence of human DNA. Collins will give a plenary lecture at the 2016 ASBMB annual meeting.

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Anna Marie Pyle: ‘Trust your own imagination’


Success in science comes when you stick with what you personally find most interesting, says Anna Marie Pyle, a faculty member at Yale University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Pyle has stuck with her fascination with RNA since she was a graduate student. Today her lab focuses on the structures and functions of large RNA molecules and the enzymes that act upon them. Pyle will give a plenary lecture at the 2016 ASBMB annual meeting.

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Michael Rosen: Sliding into biology


How is the cell’s interior organized? That is the question that has interested Michael Rosen at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas since he started out as an independent researcher. These days, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, who trained as a chemist and chemical engineer, has been focusing on the analysis of cellular compartments that are not bound by membranes. Rosen will be a plenary lecturer at the 2016 ASBMB annual meeting.

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Jared Rutter: Mad about metabolism


Jared Rutter at the University of Utah got hooked on cell metabolism early in his career. His laboratory focuses on understanding the dynamic nature of cell metabolism. As Rutter points out, cell metabolism typically is viewed as a passive process. But as his laboratory and others are finding out, there is more to it than simply churning out molecules of ATP. Earlier this year, Rutter was selected by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to be one of its newest investigators. He was also one of the 10 finalists in the life sciences category this year for the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists. In addition, he will be a plenary lecturer at the 2016 ASBMB annual meeting.

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Peter Walter: An explorer of cells


The unfolded protein response is one of the cell’s quality-control systems. The response helps cells decide when to fix proteins and when to commit suicide. The laboratory of Peter Walter at the University of California, San Francisco, has been at the forefront of identifying the machinery and mechanisms that oversee protein synthesis, folding and targeting as well as the signaling relays that allow organelles to communicate with each other. As the unfolded protein response makes life-and-death decisions for the cell, it has been implicated in numerous different diseases, including some inheritable forms of protein-folding diseases, neurodegeneration, diabetes and cancer. Walter will be a plenary lecturer at the 2016 ASBMB annual meeting.

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Xiaowei Zhuang: Taking optical microscopy by STORM


Xiaowei Zhuang at Harvard University is one of the pioneers in the field of super-resolution microscopy, which overcomes the problem of the diffraction limit in optical microscopy. First described in 1873 by one of the founders of optics, Ernst Abbe, the diffraction limit prevents researchers from using light to distinguish two objects that are apart by 200 nanometers or less. The field of super-resolution microscopy was recognized by the 2014 Nobel prize in chemistry. Zhuang will be a plenary lecturer at the 2016 ASBMB annual meeting.

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