February 2011

Member Update


Ginsburg receives biomedical science research award

David Ginsburg, the James V. Neel distinguished university professor of internal medicine and human genetics at the University of Michigan Medical School, received a Distinguished Research in the Biomedical Sciences Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The annual AAMC award was established in 1947 and recognizes outstanding clinical or laboratory research by a medical school faculty member. The research generally is related to health and disease that has contributed to the substance of medicine.

Ginsburg, who also is a Life Sciences Institute research professor and an investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, studies the components of the blood-clotting system and how disturbances in their function lead to human bleeding and blood-clotting disorders. Specifically, he and his colleagues are looking at the blood-clotting protein von Willebrand factor and how molecular defects in the protein are responsible for many of the less common subtypes of von Willebrand disease. He also studies diseases involving coagulation factor V, a central regulator in the early phases of blood clot formation, and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and PAI2, both of which regulate the fibrinolytic system that breaks down blood clots.


Holick named Van Slyke Award recipient

Michael F. Holick, a professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics and director of the General Clinical Research Unit at Boston University School of Medicine, is the recipient of the 2010 Van Slyke Award from the American Academy for Clinical Chemistry New York Metro Section. The award acknowledges outstanding contributions to the science of clinical chemistry and laboratory medicine.

Holick, who also is director of the Bone Health Care Clinic at Boston Medical Center, was chosen to receive the award for his seminal contributions to laboratory medicine. He helped pioneer several assays for vitamin D and its metabolites. The assays now are used worldwide to determine a patient’s vitamin D status and to evaluate disorders of calcium and bone metabolism. Holick also helped establish global recommendations for sensible sun exposure and vitamin D intake for children and adults.

EMBO recognizes seven ASBMB members

The European Molecular Biology Organization has awarded the life-long honor of EMBO membership to seven American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology members. They are among 63 life scientists from 14 countries who received the honor this year.

The 63 scientists represent a broad cross section of research covering classical areas of molecular biology as well as rapidly developing fields such as systems biology, neuroscience and cancer biology. More than half of the EMBO members contribute by serving on advisory editorial boards for the organization’s four scientific journals, mentoring young researchers, providing expertise to EMBO programs and taking the lead on new initiatives.

The newly elected ASBMB members are:
Gideon J. Davies, professor, Structural Biology Laboratory, department of chemistry, The University of York, United Kingdom

Carol Robinson, Royal Society research professor and Dr. Lee’s professor of chemistry, department of chemistry, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Sharon Tooze, head, Secretory Pathways Laboratory, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London, United Kingdom

Roger J. Davis, investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and professor, department of biochemistry and pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, United States

Elaine Fuchs, investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Rebecca C. Lancefield professor, Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development, Rockefeller University, United States

Thomas D. Pollard, Sterling professor of molecular cellular and developmental biology and of cell biology and of molecular biophysics and biochemistry, Yale University, United States

Chi-Huey Wong, professor, department of chemistry, The Scripps Research Institute, United States, and president, Academia Sinica, Taiwan

In memoriam Gerald C. Mueller

Gerald C. Mueller passed away on Nov. 7, 2010. He helped to establish the international reputation of the McArdle Laboratory and build a strong foundation of basic cancer research on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

Mueller was born in 1920 and raised in St. Croix, Wis. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he worked part time in the laboratory of Harold P. Rusch studying the biochemical actions of chemical carcinogens and ultraviolet radiation.

Mueller enrolled in medical school at the University of Wisconsin and received his M.D. in 1946. He then carried out an internship at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond.

In 1947, Mueller returned to Wisconsin to pursue a doctoral degree in biochemistry and oncology. After graduating in 1950, he accepted a position as an assistant professor at the university.

For the next 40 years, Mueller pursued various scientific interests, from the molecular processes regulating animal cell replication and differentiation to the role of phosphatidylethanol synthesis in alcoholism. He was a pioneer in the development of a practical method for the synchronization of mammalian cell populations and one of the first investigators to show that in each cell cycle, the units of DNA replicate in the same time sequence.

Mueller also significantly affected cancer policy in the U.S., participating in numerous study sections, advisory committees, and editorial and review boards throughout his career. He served on the Board of Scientific Counselors for both the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, as president and member of the Board of Directors for the American Association for Cancer Research, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Cancer Society.

Mueller became professor emeritus of oncology at the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research in 1991 but remained active in the department for more than a decade after that.

In memoriam Mark Smith (1965 – 2010)

Mark A. Smith, professor of pathology at Case Western Reserve University, died Dec. 19 after being struck by a car in suburban Cleveland.

Smith was a renowned Alzheimer’s disease researcher whose work focused on understanding how and why neurons cease to function in neurodegenerative diseases. He also was a Journal of Biological Chemistry editorial board member, co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and executive director of the American Aging Association.

Smith studied molecular biology and biochemistry at Durham University’s Hatfield College in England and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1986. He then attended Nottingham University, where he received his doctorate degree in 1990. After two years as a postdoctoral biochemist in the division of immunodermatology at Sandoz Forschungsinstitut (now Novartis) in Vienna, Austria, he began working at Case Western Reserve University.

Smith quickly drew attention and accolades, becoming one of the most prolific and cited faculty members on the Case Western campus, numerically accounting for more than 1 percent of publications and 4 percent of citations during the past several years (data from Institute for Scientific Information). He published more than 800 peer-reviewed articles, and his work was cited more than 21,000 times. In 2007, Smith was named the 21st most-cited author (of 3,170) in the fields of neuroscience and behavior during the previous 10 years. In 2009, he was named the No. 3 Alzheimer’s investigator in the world in a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

You can learn more about Mark Smith’s research and career and read the recollections of his friends and colleagues using the links below:

The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer Research Forum 
• Smith’s faculty webpage 

Smith received numerous awards and honors, including two Ruth Salta Junior Investigator Achievement Awards from the American Health Assistance Foundation, making him the first individual ever to receive the honor more than once. He also earned multiple campus awards for teaching and mentoring, such as the 2009 J. Bruce Jackson, M.D., Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring, one of the highest honors given to a member of the Case Western faculty. Most recently, Smith was named the recipient of the 2011 American Society for Investigative Pathology Outstanding Investigator Award and the 2011 Goudie Lecture and Medal.

“Mark Smith’s passion for scientific discovery was matched by his complete dedication to students and colleagues,” Case Western President Barbara R. Snyder said in a press release. “His death is a tragedy for his field, for Case Western Reserve and, most of all, for his family. We extend our deepest sympathies to all who are grieving this terrible loss.”

found= true1194