BETHESDA, Md., April 7, 2011 The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has named Yusuf Hannun, professor and department chairman at the Medical University of South Carolina, in Charleston, S.C., the winner of the Avanti Award in Lipids. Hannun will give his award lecture, titled "Network of Bioactive Sphingolipids," at 8:30 a.m. Monday, April 11, at the Experimental Biology 2011 conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
The annual award recognizes Hannun's work on bioactive sphingolipids, a class of lipids that have emerged as critical regulators of a multitude of cell functions and, when defective, can cause disorders with significant medical effects.
"For more than a century, sphingolipids were an obscure class of molecules whose metabolism and functions were poorly characterized," explained Robert C. Dickson of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, who nominated Hannun for the award. "Indeed, their very name derives from the Greek sphinx, because they presented an enigma to their discoverer, Johann Thudicum. Dr. Hannun's work has pioneered the way in deciphering this enigma by establishing the field of bioactive sphingolipids."
Those supporting Hannun's nomination described his team's approach as a rigorous and concerted one that combines chemistry, biochemistry, cell and molecular biology and yeast genetics to unravel the sphingolipid mystery.
Hannun, author of hundreds of peer-reviewed publications during the past few decades, including 133 publications in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, also was lauded for being a tireless mentor. Indeed, one of his past trainees, Charles Chalfant, is the recipient of the 2011 ASBMB Avanti Young Investigator Award.
"The research group that he founded at the Medical University of South Carolina is now one of the best-funded lipid research groups in the U.S. Indeed, the cadre of young scientists he recruited i
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American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology