Published June 29 2016

Seven members elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has announced the addition of 213 new fellows and foreign honorary members. Seven of the elected fellows are American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology members, including the incoming editor-in-chief of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Lila Gierasch.

Fellows of the academy advance its mission through collaborative projects and teaching opportunities across multiple disciplines. They participate in lectures, discussions and meetings nationwide and provide scholarly advice that helps shape major decisions within both the national government and the private sector.

The 2016 academy class includes the following ASBMB members:

Ebright Gierasch Hajjar Hilvert Hochstrasser Loeb Nathan

Richard H. Ebright
Rutgers University

Lila M. Gierasch
University of Massachusetts

David P. Hajjar
Weill Cornell Medical College

Donald Hilvert
ETH Zurich

Mark W. Hochstrasser
Yale University

Lawrence A. Loeb
University of Washington

Carl F. Nathan
Weill Cornell Medical College

Four members elected to the Royal Society

The Royal Society announced the election of 50 new fellows and 10 new foreign members to their organization. The Royal Society is the oldest scientific society in continuous existence. Fellows and foreign members help promote the society’s mission to encourage the use of science for the benefit of humanity.

The new foreign members and fellows include the following ASBMB members:

Doudna Gilber Lemmon O'Neill

Jennifer Doudna
University of California, Berkeley

Harry Gilbert
University of Newcastle Upon Tyne

Mark Lemmon
Yale University School of Medicine

Luke O'Neill
Trinity College Dublin

Eight members elected to the National Academy of Sciences

In early May, the National Academy of Sciences announced the election of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates.

Members are recognized for distinguished and continuing achievements in original research and lend their expertise to the academy in a number of ways, including participating in administrative or leadership roles for the academy and volunteering on study committees.

The academy class of 2016 includes the following ASBMB members:

Boothroyd Deshaies Marquesee Niyogi

John C. Boothroyd
Stanford University School of Medicine

Raymond J. Deshaies
California Institute of Technology

Susan Marqusee
University of California, Berkeley

Krishna K. Niyogi
University of California, Berkeley

Stover Summers Young Wilson

Patrick J. Stover
Cornell University

Michael F. Summers
Howard Hughes Institute, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Stephen G. Young
University of California, Los Angeles

Ian A. Wilson
The Scripps Reseach Institute

-Written by Bree Yanagisawa


Pagliarini wins Presidential Early Career Award

President Barack Obama named Dave Pagliarini, director of metabolism at the Morgridge Institute for Research and associate professor of biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, a recipient of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Announced in February, the PECASE awards are the highest honor bestowed by the government on young scientists and presented to researchers and engineers who have distinguished themselves through innovative research and leadership. Pagliarini’s lab researches the biochemical causes of mitochondrial dysfunction and develops methods to define the functions of mitochondrial proteins. Pagliarini hopes that establishing the root causes of mitochondrial dysfunction will lead to more effective therapies for as many as 150 associated diseases.

The National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Disorders partially funds Pagliarini’s program and nominated him for the award.


Marnett new dean at Vanderbilt med school

Lawrence J. Marnett, a professor of biochemistry, chemistry and pharmacology and Geddes Stahlman professor of cancer research at Vanderbilt University, has been appointed dean of basic sciences at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He assumed the role following the medical school’s legal separation from the university at the end of April.

Marnett’s responsibilities will include leading the school of medicine’s basic science departments and their basic science centers, institutes and programs.

Marnett brings a wealth of leadership experience to this new position. A former associate director of basic research at Vanderbilt–Ingram Cancer Center and director of the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology, he was named associate vice chancellor of research and senior associate dean for biomedical sciences of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 2014.

Marnett also runs the A.B. Hancock Jr. Memorial Laboratory for Cancer Research, which seeks to develop novel and effective methods to treat and prevent cancer.


Rice receives InBev–Baillet Latour prize

Charles Rice, the Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg professor in virology at The Rockefeller University and scientific and executive director of the Center for the Study of Hepatitis C, has won the 2016 InBev–Baillet Latour Health Prize for his research on the hepatitis C virus.

Hepatitis C virus, or HCV, is a major contributing factor to cirrhosis and liver failure. Rice heads the laboratory of virology and infectious disease at Rockefeller, researching how HCV infects liver cells and causes disease. Work at Rice’s lab has led to a greater understanding of the life cycle of HCV. Rice’s research is being applied to help develop new methods to treat the virus, such as 3-D culture and induced pluripotent stem cell culture, which can be used to grow HCV and other viruses efficiently.

Established in 1979 and awarded by the Baillet Latour Fund, this prize recognizes outstanding individual achievement in biomedical research. Queen Mathilde of Belgium presented the award, which comes with a more than $280,000 cash prize, to Rice at a ceremony at the Palais des Académies in Brussels.


Schatz and Tschudi honored by Yale

Two Yale professors, David Schatz and Christian Tschudi, have been recognized by the university for their outstanding scientific achievements.

David Schatz has been named the Waldermar Von Zedtwitz professor of immunobiology and of molecular biophysics and biochemistry. A distinguished researcher, his work has increased scientists’ understanding of the mechanisms that assemble and diversify antigen receptor genes, which encode antibodies and T cell receptors. Schatz is highly regarded for his discovery of the recombination activating genes RAG1 and RAG2 as well as his discoveries in the field of somatic hypermutation.


Tschudi has been named the John Rodman Paul professor of epidemiology. An expert on neglected tropical diseases, Tschudi’s research focuses on the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei, an agent that can lead to diseases in humans and animals in sub-Saharan Africa.

Tschudi also has received the Burroughs Welcome Fund New Investigator Award in Molecular Parasitology and the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Project Award in Parasitology and Tropical Medicine.

Gustafson wins Mann award


Maggie Gustafson, a fifth-year doctoral student in biochemistry and molecular and cell biology at Cornell University, has won the Harry and Samuel Mann Outstanding Graduate Student Award. Created in 2011 to recognize graduate students who exhibit outstanding scientific research skills and leadership, the award honors Harry and Samuel Mann, who were instrumental in the early production of penicillin. It carries a $20,000 cash prize.

In Chris Fromme’s lab at Cornell, Gustafson works on the Golgi complex, the primary sorting organelle responsible for the distribution of proteins throughout the cell. Studying Gea1 and Gea2, proteins that turn on the molecular switch Arf1, Gufstason discovered that multiple components are involved in the activation of Arf1 by Gea.

Gustafson is also an active member of the Graduate Student School Outreach Program at Cornell, which pairs graduate students with teachers to help mentor young students. Gustafson has taught minicourses on cell biology to students at Ithaca’s Cayuga Heights Elementary School for the past three years. She also works with the Cornell Institute for Biology Teachers, a program designed to help train science educators.

-Written by Erik Chaulk


Zoon named interim director of new NIH office

National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins announced in April the creation of a new Office of Research Support and Compliance and named Kathryn Zoon as interim director. The new office will oversee compliance with research regulations and standards. It was created in response to a series of deficiencies within the NIH’s Pharmaceutical Development Section that were identified last year by the Food and Drug Administration. The offenses include poor aseptic techniques, inadequate staff training and inappropriate ventilation in laboratory environments. In April 2015, two vials of albumin from the facility were found to be positive for fungal contamination.

Prior to this assignment, Zoon was the first woman to hold the position of scientific director for the Division of Intramural Research at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. An immunologist, Zoon is a member of the U.S. Institute of Medicine. She served as director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research from 1992 to 2002.

-Written by Bree Yanagisawa

ASBMB learned this year about the deaths of the following members:

  • George Acs, July 31, 2013
  • Peter Alaupovic, January 30, 2014
  • Francisco Alvarado, February 23, 2015
  • Richard N. Armstrong, June 22, 2015
  • Joel Avigan, September 6, 2014
  • Andrew Benson, January 16, 2015
  • Guido Camici, July 22, 2015
  • Mathew Gerakis, October 16, 2015
  • Alfred Gilman, December 23, 2015
  • John Glomset, August 28, 2015
  • Alan Hall, May 3, 2015
  • Donald Hanahan, February 4, 2016
  • Christian Harteneck, April, 12, 2016
  • Richard J. Havel, April 9, 2016
  • George Hess, September 9, 2015
  • Richard T. Jones, February 26, 2008
  • David B. Knaff, January 27, 2016
  • Robert F. Labbe, March 23, 2015
  • Irvin Liener, November 8, 2013
  • Vincent Manganiello, January 10, 2016
  • Donald Nierlich, June 17, 2011
  • David E. Ong, April 25, 2015
  • Charles R. Park, May 7, 2016
  • James T. Park, July 14, 2015
  • Alexander Rich, April 27, 2015
  • William Sacks, July 11, 2006
  • Melvin Santer, June 25, 2015
  • Richard Setlow, April 6, 2015
  • Marion B. Sewer, January 28, 2016
  • E. C. Slater, March 26, 2016
  • Robert Suhadolnik, January 26, 2016
  • Gina Sosinsky, September 2, 2015
  • Robert G. Spiro, May 16, 2015
  • Oscar Touster, February 27, 2015
  • Elisabetta Ullu, September 8, 2014
  • John Van Pilsum, November 21, 2014
  • George R. Waller, March 23, 2015
  • K. Lemone Yielding, May 3, 2014


Berg named editor-in-chief of Science

Jeremy Berg, former president of the ASBMB and a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, has been selected as the new editor-in-chief of Science. On July 1, Berg will become the 20th editor-in-chief of the publication since its founding in 1880.

“I am thrilled and humbled by the opportunity to work with the team at Science and AAAS,” Berg said in a press release from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “Effective communication of results as well as key aspects of the scientific process and culture has never been more important.”

Berg brings a passion for science policy and advocacy to his new role, which also includes overseeing the Science family of journals. Before becoming ASBMB president, Berg received the Howard K. Schachman Public Service Award, and throughout his career he has been an advocate for diversity in the sciences. During his eight years as director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Berg was responsible for several programs intended to diversify the scientific workforce.

Berg also has been a strong proponent for developing more sustainable models of biomedical research and continues to bring attention to this important topic by serving as a steering committee member for the new Rescuing Biomedical Research initiative.

-Written by Bree Yanagisawa