The Protein Society Announces Its 2012 Award Recipients

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The Protein Society, the leading international society devoted to furthering research and development in protein science, announces the winners of its 2012 awards. The awards will be conferred at the 26th Annual Symposium of The Protein Society (August 5-8, 2012, San Diego, CA, USA).

The Protein Society, the leading international society devoted to furthering research and development in protein science, announces the winners of its 2012 awards. The awards will be conferred at the 26th Annual Symposium of The Protein Society (August 5-8, 2012, San Diego, CA, USA).

The Carl Brändén Award, sponsored by Rigaku Corporation, is given to an outstanding protein scientist who has also made exceptional contributions in the areas of education and/or service to the science. The 2012 award will be presented to Dr. Helen Berman (Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey) for her accomplishments toward enabling a freely available and uniform worldwide archive of 3D structural information for biomedical research and education. Dr. Berman’s passion for making structural data accessible and understandable by a broad community has driven the development of the Protein Data Bank into a vital and accessible international resource for biology. Berman in the early 1970’s was a champion of the open access of scientific information; albeit obvious today, the concept at that time of open access was truly visionary.

The Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award, sponsored by Genentech, is granted in recognition of exceptional contributions in protein science, which profoundly influence our understanding of biology. The 2012 award will be awarded to Dr. Mark A. Lemmon (University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine) for major contributions to the field of signal transduction and transmembrane signaling mechanisms of receptor tyrosine kinases. Crystallographic, biochemical and genetic studies from his laboratory have provided sophisticated mechanistic understanding of EGFR cell signaling. His discoveries of the mechanisms for the epidermal growth factor receptor family offer new venues for developing novel therapeutic approaches targeting cancer and other human diseases.

The Hans Neurath Award, sponsored by The Hans Neurath Foundation, recognizes an individual who has made a recent contribution of unusual merit to basic research in the field of protein science. Dr. Charles L. Brooks, III (University of Michigan) will receive the 2012 award for his contributions to the field of computational and theoretical protein science. Dr. Brooks has exploited computational methods to understand diverse properties of proteins, including peptide conformational equilibrium, protein dynamics, enzymatic catalysis, protein folding and viral assembly. His research group has developed and applied computational algorithms for exploring pH dependent processes, complex biological assemblies, and the free energy of ligand binding.

The Christian B. Anfinsen Award, sponsored by The Aviv Family Foundation, recognizes significant technical achievements in the field of protein science. Dr. Barry Honig (Columbia University) is the recipient of the 2012 award for his contributions to our understanding of the electrostatic properties of proteins and the development of DelPhi and GRASP, which are among the most widely used programs in structural biology. These and other computational tools from his group have enabled numerous discoveries related to protein molecular recognition, protein-membrane interactions, and protein structural stability. Honig’s own recent discoveries related to cell-cell adhesion and sequence-dependent protein-DNA recognition are outstanding examples.

The Irving Sigal Young Investigator Award, sponsored by the Merck Research Laboratories, is an award that recognizes an important contribution to the study of proteins by a scientist who is in the early stages of an independent career. The 2012 award will be jointly presented to Dr. Mei Hong (Iowa State University) and Dr. Tarun M. Kapoor (Rockefeller University). Dr. Hong has developed new solid-state NMR experiments to facilitate chemical shift assignments and the measurement of structural parameters of proteins. Hong has applied these NMR methods to cleverly answer biologically key questions on the membrane insertion of colicin Ia channel, how antimicrobial peptides selectively disrupt membranes, and the structure and function of the influenza virus M2 protein. Dr. Kapoor has creatively combined chemical and biological approaches to dissect mechanisms of cell division. Kapoor’s studies to unravel the functions of Aurora kinase function and the kinesin motor Eg5, chromosome congression, and PRC1 crosslinking of microtubules provide important advances to our knowledge of spindle assembly, microtubule dynamics and fidelity of chromosome segregation.

Delegates, exhibitors, sponsors and the press can learn more about the 26th Symposium at The Protein Society web site http://www.proteinsociety.org/symposium or by calling (301) 634-7411.

The Protein Society is the leading international Society devoted to furthering research and development in protein science. The purpose of the Society is to provide international forums to facilitate communication, cooperation and collaboration within all aspects of the study of proteins. In support of these goals, the Society publishes Protein Science, the premier journal in the field. The Protein Society members represent a wide spectrum of academic, industry, governmental, and non-profit institutions from around the world. Media inquiries can be directed to Jody McGinness, Director of Outreach at (301)634-7411.

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Jody McGinness
The Protein Society
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