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Welch Foundation honors Orth as 'rising star' in chemistry
Date:2/3/2010

DALLAS Feb. 3, 2010 Dr. Kim Orth, associate professor of molecular biology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, was honored today with the 2010 Norman Hackerman Award in Chemical Research for pioneering work focusing on the mechanisms bacteria use to cause disease.

The Houston-based Welch Foundation, one of the nation's oldest and largest sources of private funding for basic research in chemistry, presents the award annually to honor up-and-coming scientists at Texas institutions. Recipients are recognized for expanding the frontiers of chemistry through their innovative research.

First bestowed in 2002, the award pays tribute to the late Norman Hackerman, a noted scientist and longtime chairman of the foundation's scientific advisory board. At a luncheon on the UT Southwestern campus, Dr. Orth received the $100,000 award and a crystal sculpture.

Dr. Orth has discovered new mechanisms by which invading bacteria hijack and deregulate a cell's signaling systems, cutting off the cell's ability to communicate with other immune-system cells that are needed to fight off disease. Dr. Orth's studies of these mechanisms have important implications in medicine, especially in understanding and potentially treating infectious diseases and immune-related diseases.

"Kim Orth is an original and creative biochemist and a tribute to our institution," said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, UT Southwestern president. "Her discovery of novel chemical modifications of proteins by bacteria that enter and kill cells is an important achievement. The groundbreaking advances made by her laboratory provide the foundation for a better understanding of many significant infectious diseases."

With the addition of Dr. Orth, four of the nine Hackerman Award recipients have been UT Southwestern faculty members. Other winners from the medical center are Dr. Xiaodong Wang, professor of biochemistry, in 2003; Dr. Zhijian "James" Chen, professor of molecular biolo
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Contact: Amanda Siegfried
amanda.siegfried@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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