B. Joseph White joins LSI
Four new LSI faculty bring total to 13
Former interim president B. Joseph White is one of
four new members of the Life Sciences Institute (LSI) faculty. White,
who also is a professor of business administration and former dean of
the Business School, will explore an initiative on personalized medicine.
The other new faculty members are medicinal chemist
David Sherman, structural biologist Janet Smith and biological chemist
Xian-Zhong “Shawn” Xu.
Sherman explores the biochemical pathways
of marine microorganisms, with a goal of finding new drug candidates
for infectious diseases and cancer. He also directs LSI’s new Center
for Chemical Genomics.
Smith examines the three-dimensional shapes of enzymes that are critical
to multi-stage chemical reactions in the cell. Her work also examines
structures in infectious pathogens including the RNA viruses that cause
West Nile, yellow fever and dengue.
Xu is a physiologist who studies cellular signaling by calcium ions in
the model organism C. elegans, a nematode worm. His work explores nervous
system development and sperm fertility in the worms.
LSI is building a faculty of 25-30 cross-disciplinary scientists who
will work together collaboratively in an open lab setting to attack difficult
problems of human health from a variety of perspectives.
The institute’s core concentrations so far are in structural biology,
cell biology, genetics and genomics, and a new field called chemical
Nine faculty already are aboard.
Geneticist Dr. David Ginsburg studies human families with bleeding disorders
such as hemophilia, and mice with genetic knockouts, to understand the
genes and biomolecules that control the blood-clotting response.
Biological chemist Kun-Liang Guan studies the enzyme chemical reactions that
regulate cell division, growth and differentiation, which are crucial to understanding
disease states such as cancer, arthritis and diabetes.
Cell biologist Daniel Klionsky uses baker’s yeast as a model organism to
uncover intriguing clues into a variety of human diseases, including cancer,
and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Systems biologist Anuj Kumar surveys large numbers
of genes and proteins in baker’s
yeast, using computers and robotic sample handling, and has discovered more than
137 new genes.
Pathologist Dr. John Lowe explores the complex sugars that coat the outside of
animal cells to better understand cellular signaling and inflammatory diseases
including arthritis, psoriasis and hardening of the arteries.
Biological chemist Rowena Matthews studies riboflavin and folic acid and has
contributed to the recommendation that all people should consume more folic acid
to prevent heart disease and birth defects.
Structural biologist Gabrielle (Gabby) Rudenko focuses
on the structure and function of proteins that regulate the brain’s recovery
from damage due to drugs or injuries.
Cell biologist and LSI Director Alan Saltiel studies the hormone insulin and
its role in regulating cellular sugar levels and facilitating cell-to-cell communication.
Structural biologist Zhaohui Xu examines “molecular chaperones” that
help newly made proteins fold into the proper three-dimensional shape. Misshapen
proteins are known to be a factor in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
diseases, diabetes, high cholesterol, mad cow disease and bacterial infections
and probably are involved in countless other conditions as well.
LSI unveils two centers>