Thursday, 05 June 2014 07:50

ASCB Takes the Hill

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It began as a quiet Friday on Capitol Hill. May 30 found many members of the Senate back home for a long weekend, meeting with constituents. The House of Representatives had been in session until almost 2:00 am the night before, voting on funding for the departments of Commerce and Justice plus other agencies including the NSF. But then a contingent of ASCB Councilors and leaders arrived. Things soon grew much livelier.

Arriving today, an exotic world, both foreign and as close as their own skin, will greet travelers moving through Washington Dulles International Airport, as “Life: Magnified,” an exhibit of 46 eye-popping color images of life on the cellular level, opens in the airport’s Gateway Gallery in Concourse C. “Life: Magnified” is a collaborative project of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (Airports Authority) with support from ZEISS.

Yale professor, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and ASCB member, Joan Argetsinger Steitz has been elected a foreign member of the Royal Society in the UK. Steitz was an early pioneer in RNA biology, discovering much of the machinery and key players in RNA splicing. She went onto elucidate the role of small nucleic ribonucleoparticles (snRNPs or "snurps") in modifying non-coding introns and continues her work on microRNAs in gene regulation. The Royal Society membership joins a long list of Steitz's honors and awards including the Gairdner International Award in 2006 and the ASCB's highest scientific honor, the E.B. Wilson Medal, in 2005.

ASCB President-Elect Peter Walter, professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), is the co-winner of the 2014 Shaw Prize in Life Sciences and Medicine. Walter, who is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, will share the $1 million Shaw Prize with Kazutoshi Mori of Kyoto University for their work on the unfolded protein response (UPR), the cell's quality control response to an accumulation of defectively folded proteins.

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