Intriguingly, Tessier said, one of the toxic arrangements (the soluble oligomer) and one of the non-toxic arrangements (the non-toxic oligomer) were indistinguishable by various methods. And yet the resveratrol only affected the toxic arrangement.
The point, Tessier concludes, is that the seemingly identical non-toxic and toxic arrangements must have some distinguishing feature yet to be discovered, raising questions for future study.
"We have two things that look very similar, but one is toxic and the other isn't," Tessier said. "What is it that makes the bad one bad and the good one good?"
The research produced several other findings, Tessier said, including reliable methods of generating the arrangements Tessier's team produced, and formation of one arrangement which had previously been unknown.
Last week, Tessier was named as a 2010 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences by the Pew Charitable Trusts.The distinction includes an award of $240,000 over four years and inclusion into a select community of scientists that includes three Nobel Prize winners, three MacArthur Fellows, and two recipients of the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Tessier was also recently awarded a five-year, $411,872 Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for research in the related field of protein thermodynamics and aggregation.
The CAREER Award is given to faculty members at the beginning of their academic careers and is one of NSF's most competitive awards, placing emphasis on high-quality research and novel education initiatives.
Tessier joined the Rensselaer faculty in 2007 following a postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Whitehead I
|Contact: Mary Martialay|
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute