Lipid Research Division

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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.

Rock elected as AAAS fellow

The American Association for the Advancement of Sciences announced that Charles Rock of St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital was one of its 2020 class of fellows. Rock is honored "for cutting-edge research on bacterial lipid metabolism, the results of which have advanced the promise of fatty acid synthesis inhibitors as new bacterial antibiotics."

ASCB Blobel Award for Olzmann

James Olzmann, an associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley, was the 2020 recipient of the American Society for Cell Biology’s Günter Blobel Early Career Award, which honors a researcher less than seven years into an independent career. Olzmann’s lab studies lipid droplet function with special interest in the proteins that regulate lipid storage and mobilization from inside these organelles. He also won a 2019 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Tontonoz elected to National Academy of Sciences

Peter Tontonoz, a professor in the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, has been elected to join the National Academy of Sciences. Tontonoz studies signaling by the lipid-activated nuclear receptors PPAR and LXR, which are implicated in metabolic disease.