January 2013

Member update


Kyoto Prize goes to Ohsumi
Yoshinori Ohsumi, a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, won the Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences last month for his studies of autophagy in yeast and his contributions toward elucidating the mechanisms of and physiological significance of the cellular process. Each year, three laureates are presented with diplomas, prize medals and 50 million yen apiece from the Inamori Foundation.

Georgia Tech’s García wins Clemson award for biomaterials research
Andrés J. García, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Mechanical Engineering, won the 2012 Clemson Award for basic research from the Society for Biomaterials. The award recognizes “significant contributions to and understanding of the interaction of materials with tissues within a biological environment.” In his nomination of García, the University of Washington’s Buddy Ratner cited García’s “strong commitment to polymeric biomaterials and to the modern biology of healing and regeneration, coupled with a fine intelligence, a charismatic personality and super-charged energy.” On top of the award, one of García’s publications was selected as part of a special issue of the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A focusing on the most significant 25 publications since the inception of the journal in 1965. At Georgia Tech, where he is chairman of the bioengineering graduate program, García focuses on engineering biomaterials that promote tissue repair and healing, quantitative analyses of mechanisms regulating cell adhesive forces and cell-based therapies for regenerative medicine. Among his numerous accolades are the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and an Arthritis Investigator Award.
Two members win Columbia University’s 2012 Horwitz Prize
Members Richard Losick of Harvard College and Lucy Shapiro of the Stanford University School of Medicine were named winners of the 2012 Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize, issued by Columbia University to recognize outstanding basic research in biology and biochemistry. Losick and Shapiro shared the award with Joe Lutkenhaus of the University of Kansas Medical School, and the honorarium will be divided among the three. The Horwitz Prize was established through a bequest to Columbia from S. Gross Horwitz in honor of his mother, the daughter of a prominent Philadelphia surgeon, author and one-time president of the American Medical Association. Losick said that sharing the prize with Shapiro was “a special treat, as we have been close comrades-in-arms in microbial development from the early days of our careers, and each of us has been held spellbound by the bacterium we have been studying.” He continued, “It was also a delight to share the Prize with Joe Lutkenhaus, whose contributions to how bacteria divide had a major influence on our studies with Caulobacter and Bacillus.”
Carroll wins American Chemical Society’s Pfizer award
Kate Carroll, an associate professor at the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute, won the American Chemical Society’s 2013 Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry. The award, begun in 1945, is given annually to stimulate research in enzyme chemistry by scientists under 40 years old. Carroll, a member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s mentoring committee, was selected for this award on the basis of her work using the tools of chemistry and biology to elucidate protein cysteine oxidation as a new paradigm for the regulation of cell-signaling pathways. Carroll will give an award lecture at the ACS annual meeting to be held in the fall in Indianapolis.
In memoriam: Parithychery R. Srinivasan
Parithychery R. Srinivasan, professor emeritus at Columbia University, died Oct. 23 at the age of 84. Srinivasan, who immigrated to the United States in 1953 as a Fulbright scholar, spent six decades at Columbia and served as acting chairman of his department in the 1970s. After retirement, he continued teaching a graduate seminar for the medical school. He was an active member of the New York Academy of Sciences, holding various leadership positions over the years, including the presidency in 1980. A longtime resident of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., Srinivasan was also very involved with the Temple Beth Shalom community.

Högbom among the first class of fellows for Wallenberg Academy
Martin Högbom, an associate professor at Stockholm University, was named one of the first Wallenberg Academy fellows by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. The inaugural cohort of the program, established by the foundation in collaboration with five Swedish royal academies and 16 Swedish universities, includes 30 young researchers of various disciplines. At Stockholm, Högbom focuses on structure–function studies of proteins that use metal cofactors. In particular, his group works with membrane proteins and ones involved in the lipid metabolism of M. tuberculosis. The fellowship program aims to provide long-term support, including mentoring, for up to 125 young researchers by 2016. Each fellow receives a five-year grant worth between $750,000 and $1.13 million (in U.S. dollars), and that grant can be considered for renewal for another five years after that.

In memoriam: Marilyn Rosenthal Loeb
Marilyn Rosenthal Loeb, a childhood disease and vaccine researcher at the University of Rochester Medical Center, died Aug. 24 from complications of thyroid cancer at age 82. Loeb, who trained under virologist Seymour Cohen, first joined the pediatrics department as a faculty member in 1978 and focused her work on the role of cell-surface molecules in bacterial infections and on the characterization and evaluation of vaccines. Loeb was a lifelong advocate for women in science and enjoyed traveling widely and participating in outdoor activities.
Fuchs gets N.Y. Academy of Medicine medal
The New York Academy of Medicine named Elaine Fuchs of the Rockefeller University the 2012 winner of the Academy Medal for Distinguished Contributions in Biomedical Science. In a statement, the academy said it was acknowledging Fuchs “for her innovative and imaginative approaches to research in skin biology, its stem cells and its associated human genetic disorders.” The academy has issued the medal to biomedical researchers since 1929 and has put a special emphasis on recognizing those working on translating their findings to improve human health. Fuchs, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, was honored at the academy’s 165th Anniversary Discourse and Awards event last month.

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