Published October 03 2016

Albany Medical Center Prize goes to Hartl, Horwich and Lindquist

Hartl Horwich Lindquist

Three members of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, F. Ulrich Hartl of the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Arthur Horwich of the Yale School of Medicine, and Susan Lindquist of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are being honored with the 2016 Albany Medical Center Prize in Biomedicine and Biomedical Research. The three researchers made fundamental discoveries related to the mechanisms of protein folding, the final step in transmitting genetic information, through which a protein structure acquires its functional characteristics.

Discoveries by the three recipients show the potential for the development of new drugs that could combat neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease as well as cancer and drug resistance.

Established in 2000 by the late Morris “Marty” Silverman, a businessman and philanthropist, the Albany Medical Center Prize is awarded to scientists who have impacted significantly the field of medical research through their work. The prestigious award is one of the most valuable prizes in medicine, carrying a $500,000 prize.

The prize was presented formally in September.

De La Cruz

De La Cruz wins Gray award

The Biophysical Society has announced Enrique De La Cruz as the recipient of the Emily M. Gray Award, one of the awards given out by the organization. De La Cruz will be recognized, along with the other awardees, at the society’s 61st annual meeting in February.

The award recognizes excellence in biophysics education, which includes leadership in the classroom, student mentoring and public outreach. De La Cruz is a professor in the department of molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University, where he has distinguished himself as an educator.

Outside of the classroom, De La Cruz works with many different scientific societies and committees. He serves on the Publications and Meetings Committees at the ASBMB and has served on the Biophysical Society Council, chairing its Nominating Committee.


Chromatin expert Wu joins Hopkins

Carl Wu has joined Johns Hopkins as a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor.

Wu is considered a leading expert in the study of chromatin. Chromatin is the complex of DNA, histone proteins and associated macromolecules that forms chromosomes within the nucleus of eukaryotic cells.

Wu explored the biochemical mechanisms of chromatin remodeling at the National Cancer Institute, which he joined in 1982. In 2012, he continued his chromatin research as a senior fellow at Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus.

At Hopkins, Wu will establish a laboratory devoted to studying the structure and function of chromatin and gene expression.

Wu was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2006 and the National Academy of Medicine in 2010. He was honored by the ASBMB with the Young Investigator Award, formerly the ASBMB Schering–Plough Research Institute Award, in 1992.


Charpentier and Doudna win Gairdner Award

Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna are recipients of the Canada Gairdner International Award “for development of CRISPR-CAS as a genome editing tool for eukaryotic cells.”

Established in 1959, the Canada Gairdner International Awards are the most prestigious Canadian medical awards and recognize novel biomedical research. The award is valued at 77,804.66 in U.S. dollars.

The award is further recognition for Charpentier and Doudna’s groundbreaking genome-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9, which has proved to be an exciting new biomedical technology that enables scientists simply and precisely to manipulate parts of the genome.


Charpentier is the director at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology and a professor at Umeå Unversity. As co-founder of CRISPR Therapeutics, Charpentier is developing this new technology to be applied for a wide range of biomedical purposes.

Doudna holds the Li Ka Shing chancellor’s chair in biomedical and health sciences and is a professor of molecular and cell biology and of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. She is also an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Both Charpentier and Doudna were named in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2015. The researchers most recently were honored for developing this new technology with the 2016 Tang Prize in Biopharmaceutical Science.

—By Erik Chaulk


Coorssen to head Brock faculty of graduate studies

Jens R. Coorssen has been appointed dean of the faculty of graduate studies at Brock University in Ontario, Canada. Coorssen completed his undergraduate and master’s degrees at Brock University before earning his Ph.D. at McMaster University. He returns to his alma mater after an international career that has included appointments in Canada, Germany, the U. S. and most recently the Western Sydney University School of Medicine in Australia, where he served as chair of molecular physiology and head of the WSU Molecular Medicine Research Group. Coorssen’s research uses systems biology, lipidomics and proteomics approaches to understand the mechanisms underlying exocytosis and diverse health issues, including central nervous system injuries, multiple sclerosis, memory deficits and preterm labor.

—By Melissa Bowman


In memoriam: Ezio Anthony Moscatelli

Ezio Anthony Moscatelli, a professor at the University of Missouri–Columbia, died on June 2, 2015, at the University of Missouri Hospital. He was 88.

Moscatelli was a faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin and at the Missouri Medical Institute in St. Louis before arriving at the University of Missouri–Columbia, where he was a professor in the biochemistry department.

Beloved by the community, Moscatelli left a profound impact on his students, as he was one of the inaugural recipients of the William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence in 1991.

He is survived by his companion, Donna Becherer, and his son, Peter Moscatelli.

In memoriam: Marie T. Hakala-Zakrzewski

Marie T. Hakala–Zakrzewski died Jan. 16 at the Ives Hill Retirement Community. She was 97.

After obtaining her Ph.D. in biochemistry at Duke University, Hakala–Zakrzewski worked in the department of pharmacology at Yale University, where she met her future husband, Sigmund F. Zakrzewski. She later moved to Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, where she worked until her retirement in 1987.

Hakala–Zakrzewski’s research focused on basic studies of all aspects of chemotherapy; she published nearly 100 research papers through the course of her career.

—By Erik Chaulk