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NYU Langone Medical Center researcher named Howard Hughes Investigator

NEW YORK, May 9, 2013 The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has announced the appointment of Evgeny Nudler, PhD, to the 2013 class of HHMI Investigators.The appointment ranks as one of the highest honors that can be bestowed on a biomedical research scientist. Dr. Nudler, the Julie Wilson Anderson Professor of Biochemistry in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at NYU Langone Medical Center, was selected among more than 1,200 applicants for his work on numerous biochemical frontiers, including the role of bacterial gases in antibiotic resistance and the interplay between RNA transcription and the cellular response to stress.

"The depth and breadth of Evgeny Nudler's research is absolutely remarkable," said Dafna Bar-Sagi, PhD, senior vice president and vice dean for science and chief scientific officer at NYU School of Medicine. "The five highly unique projects underway in his lab hold promise for a broad range of diseases, from cancer and heart disease to bacterial infections and Alzheimer's. His versatility and range are invaluable, and his selection as an HMMI Investigator is richly deserved."

Most recently, Dr. Nudler and his colleagues have discovered how the roundworm exploits bacteria within its gut to harness the life-extending benefits of nitric oxide, a gas implicated in a wide range of physiological functions from blood pressure to immune response in mammals. This finding could help unravel the mysteries of human longevity, as our cells may employ a similar biochemical mechanism.

Bacteria cells also exploit nitric oxide for their own purposes, Dr. Nudler has found. In a discovery that sheds light on antibacterial resistance, his team has revealed how the dangerous bacterial species Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus anthracis manufacture nitric oxide and hydrogen sulfide to guard against oxidative stress and evade many different classes of antibiotics.

Among Dr. Nudler's other scientific contributions, his team was the first to discover bits of RNA present in all life forms that function as molecular circuits to control gene expression. These so-called "riboswitches" are now promising new targets for synthetic molecular switches and antimicrobial therapies. His lab has also developed a suite of biochemical tools to examine how RNA polymerase transcribes RNA from DNA. RNA polymerase is key enzyme of gene regulation and Nudler's work has explained how it moves along DNA, responds to regulatory signals and factors, and terminates transcription. Finally, Dr. Nudler's lab has identified the key biochemical components that allow cells to cope with high temperature and other types of stress that jeopardize the integrity of proteins. A better understanding of these components could lead to therapies that help repair damaged proteins related to cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).


Contact: Lisa Greiner
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine

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