2004 News Archive

December 1, 2004

Four Searle Scholars elected Fellows of the AAAS

Among the newly elected Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science are Richard H. Ebright (1989 Scholar), Steven Jacobsen (2000 Scholar), Robert C. Landick (1987 Scholar) and Chi-Huey Wong (1985 Scholar).

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November 19, 2004

David Page (1989 Scholar) has his research career featured in December 2004 Scientific American. In the same issue, Peter Schultz (1985) and Doug Melton (1983) were named among the Top 50 Tech Leaders of 2004.

Scientific American in its December 2004 issue has a two-page spread and an accompanying photo of David C. Page, 1989 Scholar and currently a Professor at M.I.T.'s Whitehead Institute. The article by Gary Stix goes into David's research on the human Y chromosome, work that has revealed many (perhaps most?) of its secrets, including its entire DNA sequence, the identity of all of its genes, and its apparent ability to keep itself intact by correcting errors that might arise in it. In another article in the same issue, Peter G. Schultz was cited among research leaders for his pioneering work to expand the genetic code and incorporate the codes for five "new" amino acids into yeast cells, "potentially leading to new protein medicines." Douglas A. Melton was dubbed "policy leader of the year" both for his research that has identified the developmental pathway for the cells that produce insulin and for his advocacy of stem cell research. Doug's research has shown that adult stem cells do not differentiate to produce insulin but embryonic ones do, providing strong support for the use of embryonic stem cells in diabetes research.

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October 1, 2004

Joe Derisi ('01 Scholar) Becomes Fifth Searle Scholar to Receive MacArthur "Genius" Award

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation just named its 23 Fellows for 2004, including Joseph L. DeRisi, who is Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF. Joe revolutionized the field of malaria research by devising methods of culturing key stages in the parasite's life cycle, and he has gone on to do key work on analyzing gene expression. One goal that Joe has reached is to identify targets for therapeutic intervention. Joe has also made major contributions to development of technologies for analyzing genomes and gene expression rapidly. Last year his lab identified and characterized the novel coronavirus responsible for the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). A further write-up of his award citation can be found on the MacArthur Foundation website.

Searle Scholars to win previous MacArthur awards are Xiaowei Zhuang, Richard C. Mulligan, David C. Page, and Geraldine C. Seydoux.

October 1, 2004

Scholars Ismagilov and Morrison Receive 2003 Presidential Early Career Awards

Rustem F. Ismagilov ('02 Scholar) and Sean Morrison ('00 Scholar) were recipients of the 2003 Awards (announced September 2004). These Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, established in 1996, honor "the most promising beginning researchers in the nation within their fields. Eight federal departments and agencies annually nominate scientists and engineers at the start of their careers whose work shows the greatest promise to benefit the nominating agency's mission. Participating agencies award these beginning scientists and engineers up to five years of funding to further their research in support of critical government missions." Rustem also recently received two other honors. He was one of 10 scientists to receive this year's Cope Award, which recognizes and encourages excellence in organic chemistry. Announced in the Monday, Aug. 23 issue of Chemical and Engineering News, the award consists of $5,000 and a $40,000 unrestricted research grant. Rustem was also named among a group of 100 under age 35 whose contributions to "transforming the nature of technology and business in industries such as biotechnology and medicine, computing and nanotechnology" are having a profound impact on today's world.

May 12, 2004

Catherine L. Drennan (2001 Searle Scholar) Receives Presidential Early Career Award

The 57 researchers receiving the 2002 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers received their awards May 4, 2004 at a ceremony at the White House. These awards were established in 1996 to honor the most promising beginning researchers in the nation. Cathy was one of eleven biomedical researchers nominated by the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. The NIH provides the awardees with up to five years of funding to further their research in support of critical NIH missions.

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May 6, 2004

Searle Scholars Dan R. Littman, Stephen L. Mayo, and Peter Walter elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Of the 72 newly elected members of the National Academy of Sciences, three are former Searle Scholars. Dan Littman ('86 Scholar) is Professor of Molecular Immunology and directs the Molecular Pathogenesis program at the Skirball Institue of New York University. His lab studies the development and regulation of T-cells, T-cell responses to antigens, and the roles of dendritic cells in immune recognition, especially in connection with AIDS virus infection. Dan has also served as a member of the Searle Scholars Program Advisory Board from 1997 to 2000.

Stephen Mayo ('94 Scholar) studies protein structure, stability and design in the Division of Chemistry at Caltech. His algorithm, ORBIT, has facilitated the design of original amino acid sequences for entire proteins, which can be made to fold into correct structures. This accomplishment has been one of the long-standing major goals of protein chemistry.

Peter Walter ('83 Scholar), Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF, worked out many of the steps and molecular players in the processes by which cells synthesize the proteins that occur in their membranes and the proteins they secrete, such as the antibodies, protein hormones and extracellular matrix materials. Currently his lab is addressing two major questions in cell biology: how do proteins become properly localized within a cell? and how does a cell regulate the abundance of each subcellular organelle? Congratulations!

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