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University of Washington professor garners Avanti Young Investigator Award
Date:12/10/2009

Sarah L. Keller, a professor of chemistry and adjunct professor of physics at the University of Washington, has been named the winner of the 2010 Avanti Young Investigator Award in Lipid Research for her innovative and cutting-edge studies on membrane lipids.

As part of this award, established by American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology's Lipid Research Division, Keller will present a lecture, titled "Dynamic Domains in Lipid Membranes near a Miscibility Critical Point," at 11:45 a.m. Monday, April 26, at the 2010 annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif.

Starting with her graduate education at Princeton University, where she studied the interactions between ion channels and lipid membranes with Sol M. Gruner, and later continuing with postdoctoral positions at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Stanford University, Keller's interdisciplinary research has been instrumental in revealing how lipid composition affects the physical parameters of cell membranes and how that can lead to changes in membrane protein activity and aggregation.

Some of her early studies directly inspired models of protein aggregation within membranes and provided an experimental basis for the theory of membrane lateral pressure.

Since arriving at the University of Washington in 2000 to begin her own lab, Keller has combined her in-depth knowledge of chemistry and physics to tackle even more daring and ambitious projects related to membrane lipids.

In just a few years, Keller already has provided numerous insights into the formation and diffusion of lipid domains and how lipid composition can alter the activities of lipid domains and membrane proteins in both an intra- and inter-leaflet manner.

"Sarah is fearless in her choice of projects the tougher the better," notes Keller's postdoctoral adviser Joseph Zasadzinski, a professor in the department of chemical engineering and engineering materials at UCSB. "Sh
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Contact: Angela Hopp
ahopp@asbmb.org
301-634-7389
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Source:Eurekalert  

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