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Jacobs-Wagner named Howard Hughes Investigator
Date:5/27/2008

New Haven, Conn. - Yale Universitys Christine Jacobs-Wagner has been designated an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, a non-profit medical research organization that is one of the nations largest philanthropies.

Jacobs-Wagner, the Maxine Singer Associate Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, becomes one of 17 Yale scientists who now hold the prestigious appointment. HHMI was founded to supplement biomedical research efforts of some of the nations top scientists.

Jacobs-Wagner is one of the worlds leading experts on the internal cellular workings of bacteria, which have proved to be much more complex than scientists imagined a decade ago. Her descriptions of the inner mechanisms of bacteria have led to an appreciation of the survival strategies of these ancient organisms and new insights into how to study modern human illnesses.

There is a level of sophistication that no one had anticipated, Jacobs-Wagner said.

We are delighted that HHMI has recognized Christines creativity in addressing fascinating questions about the internal organization of bacteria, said Thomas Pollard, M.D.,Sterling professor and chairman of the Department of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology.

Jacobs-Wagner and her team have made several startling discoveries by studying the bacterium Caulobacter crescentus, which has several advantages for researchers. For instance, the bacterium undergoes distinct morphological changes during its cell cycle, which has enabled Jacobs-Wagner to investigate roles of proteins at particular locations and times within the life cycle of cells.

Scientists in the last few years, for instance, have discovered that actin and tubulin, two proteins crucial in determining the shape of eukaryotic cells are also at work in bacteria. Jacobs-Wagner found that some bacteria also host proteins known as intermediate filaments, once thought only to exist i
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Contact: Bill Hathaway
william.hathaway@yale.edu
203-432-1322
Yale University
Source:Eurekalert

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