2002 News Archive

October 16, 2002

Benjamin F. Cravatt ('98) to Receive the ASCB-Promega Award from the American Society for Cell Biology.

To quote the ASCB Newsletter: "Cravatt is being recognized for his research with fatty acid amides in cellular and organismal biology. Fatty acid amides, a family of chemical messengers, have been shown to affect many physiological functions, including sleep, thermoregulation, pain sensitivity, and angiogenesis." Ben's award lecture will occur at the ASCB annual meeting on Tuesday, December 17, in San Francisco.

August 13, 2002

Ali Hemmati-Brivanlou ('95 Scholar) is featured in Science article on stem cell research.

The article in the August 9, 2002 issue of Science includes a picture of Ali and reports on Ali's attempts to obtain the "more than 60" human embryonic stem cell lines that President Bush announced were available a year ago. Ali has only been able to obtain two. Science reports that of these 60 some cell lines, only 16 are well well-characterized and available for distribution, and most of these come with strings attached...such as working collaboratively with the originators of the lines. Only four lines seem to be in the hands of US scientists who are not collaborating with the originators. Stem cells derived from human embryos have the potential for turning into any kind of cell in the body and so may be of great use in treating injuries and diseases in which specific cells are damaged or killed. These include spinal cord injuries, some forms of diabetes, and neuro-degenerative diseases such as Parkinsonism. The use of human embryonic stem cells is controversial because the cells are derived from early stage human embryos.

July 23, 2002

Roger Y. Tsien ('83) to Receive the 2002 Award for Creative Invention from the American Chemical Society.

The ACS's write-up of Roger's award can be found at ACSLink.

February 7, 2002

MacArthur Fellowship to Geraldine C. Seydoux ('97)

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation named 23 recipients of the year 2001's MacArthur Fellowships. Each will receive $500,000 over five years of "no strings attached" support. Geraldine was sited for her research that "provides key insights into biology's most complex processes: creating a fully formed adult animal from a single cell and then repeating the proces in the next generation."

January 10, 2002

Discover's TOP 100 SCIENCE STORIES OF 2001 Singles Out Work of Searle Scholars David P. Bartel ('97) and M. Reza Ghadiri ('91) and Quotes Searle Advisory Board Members Tony Hunter and Rudolf Jaenisch.

Discover (Vol. 23, No.1: January, 2002) describes David Bartel's research in which his group has been able to evolve new RNA enzmyes that can replicate short RNA molecules. This activity is a possible scenario for the origin of self-replicating organic systems that may have been the precursors to living things on Earth near the dawn of the solar system. Commenting on his work, David is quoted as saying "....the foundation is there... [but] evolution had much more time and a much larger test tube." M. Reza Ghadiri is cited for his creation of peptide molecules that home in on bacterial cells and kill them, leaving mammalian cells alone. This work has the promise of leading to new antibiotic drugs. Advisor Tony Hunter comments on Gleevec and other new anti-cancer drugs that work on enzymes Hunter and coworkers discovered and have extensively characterized. Discover also cites the work from Rudolf Jaenisch's lab that pinpoints problems that may be encountered in cloning animals (and thus relevant to the question of human cloning). Testimony by Jaenisch before a congressional committee investigating human cloning is also quoted.

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