Lipid Research Division

Member spotlight

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Spotlight: Xianlin Han

Read a Q&A with University of Texas Health Sciences Center professor and Journal of Lipid Research associate editor Xianlin Han in ASBMB Today. 


Obeid award honors Blaho, Carr

Victoria Blaho, an assistant professor at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in San Diego, and Rotonya Carr, a physician–scientist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and a former junior associate editor at the Journal of Lipid Research, are two of three inaugural recipients of the International Ceramide Committee's Lina Obeid Award for young investigators.

Blaho studies sphingosine-1-phosphate signaling in the immune system. Carr’s research focuses on the role of ceramide signaling in fatty liver disease. The award's third recipient, Doris Höglinger of the University of Heidelberg, studies Niemann–Pick disease type C, which is caused by sphingolipid accumulation.   

The award is named for the late Lina Obeid, a physician–scientist and dean of research at Stony Brook University who died in 2019 at age 64. Obeid was a pioneer in sphingolipid signaling in cell death and senescence; she was the first to demonstrate a role for the lipid ceramide in apoptosis, and she conducted extensive research into bioactive lipids in cancer. She also, with husband Yusuf Hannun, directed a center for metabolomics at Stony Brook.

In memoriam: John Turk

John Turk, an endowed professor of endocrinology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, died on May 26 after a brief illness. He was 73. Turk, a pioneer in lipid biochemistry, was a mass spectrometrist who used tandem MS to determine complex lipid structures; he also co-discovered the phospholipase iPLA2, which is involved in insulin secretion and pancreatic beta cell survival, and disrupted in diseases. Turk directed his university's mass spectrometry core facility; practiced medicine and trained graduate students and residents; and was an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the American Academy of Physicians.  

ASBMB Fellows in the LRD

Nine of the thirty inaugural ASBMB Fellows are also members of the Lipid Research Division! Congratulations to these distinguished lipid scientists:

  • Suzanne Barbour
  • George Carman
  • Edward Dennis
  • William Dowhan
  • Alexandra Newton
  • Daniel Raben
  • Kerry-Anne Rye
  • Sarah Spiegel
  • Stephen Young

You can read more about these scientists' research, awards and service in an article in ASBMB Today that celebrates all 30 fellows.

Raben profiled as a Lipid Leader

Avanti Polar Lipids recently sat down with LRD co-founder Dan Raben for their "Conversations with Lipid Leaders" series. You can read what Raben had to say about his research into interfacial lipid-metabolizing enzymes, and how science became a lifelong passion for him, here.

York moves to Impossible Foods

John York, former chair of the Vanderbilt University biochemistry department, has left that role to become the chief science officer at Impossible Foods, a research-forward startup making plant-based substitutes for meat and other animal products. The company is outspoken about its mission to combat climate change and other environmental problems by reducing meat consumption. 

“The opportunity to use biochemistry to save the planet is a spectacular motivation,” York stated in a press release from Impossible Foods. In his eight years at Vanderbilt, York pursued a long-standing interest in inositol phosphate singaling and also developed a line of research into the effect of reductive sulfur fixation on iron homeostasis and phsyiology. Prior to Vanderbilt, he was a professor at Duke for 16 years.

In memoriam: William (Bill) Nunn

George Carman, co-director of the LRD, writes, "Bill Nunn (1943-1986) is remembered for seminal contributions to the understanding of bacterial fatty acid metabolism. Among his many contributions, he discovered that the fadR gene includes a transcriptional regulator that controls unsaturated fatty acid synthesis in E. coli. In addition to his service on national advisory panels and scientific journals, Bill was devoted to the advancement of Black students and scientists. His unexpected death in 1986 was a major loss to the scientific community. I didn't know Bill well, but I recall his warm smile and encouraging comments during the early years of my career."

You can read more about Nunn's life and career here.