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ACA 2015 Awards

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The American Crystallographic Association has announced its 2015 award winners

[Greg Petsko] Greg Petsko

G. Petsko (Weill Cornell Medical College and Brandeis U., USA) has been selected to receive the 2015 Martin J. Buerger Award. Petsko has used X-ray crystallography, molecular biology, yeast genetics, organic synthesis, enzyme kinetics and molecular dynamics calculations to understand enzyme structure and function. With D. Ringe, his long-time collaborator at Brandeis, he has developed new diffraction techniques that allow the recording of entire macromolecular data sets in milliseconds and which, combined with low-temperature experiments, can be used to capture snapshots of catalytic intermediates. Recently, he has focused his attention on neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Lou-Gehrig's diseases, using structure-based drug design techniques to develop possible therapeutics against what he defined as the 'coming neurological epidemic'.

[Laurence Marks] Laurence Marks

L. Marks (Northwestern U., USA) is the recipient of the 2015 B. E. Warren Award, which recognizes an important recent contribution to the physics of solids or liquids using X-ray, neutron or electron diffraction techniques. His research focuses on achieving more efficient catalysis using controlled oxide nanoparticles, improving solid oxide fuel cells to produce electricity directly from hydrocarbons, studying the wearing process caused by friction of metallic surfaces to improve prosthetic devices, and engineering a new type of concrete/cement with a cheaper energy production cost.

[Y.-J. Zhang] Yan Jessie Zhang

Y. J. Zhang (U. Texas, Austin, USA) is the recipient of the 2015 Margaret Etter Early Career Award. The ACA established this annual award in 2002, to recognize the work of scientists at the earlier stages of their independent careers in crystallography. Zhang received her BS from Tsinghua U. in 1997, working in the field of medicinal chemistry. She earned an MS in crystallography with B. Matthews at the U. Oregon in 2000, and a PhD from the Scripps Inst. for Biological Studies in 2004 with I. Wilson. She conducted post-doctoral research on enzymes involved in transcription and oncogenic pathways with the guidance of J. P. Noel. As a grad student she solved the crystal structure of the glycinamide ribonucleotide formyltransferase. In the fall of 2008 she joined U. Texas at Austin, where her main focus is to understand the mechanisms of transcriptional regulation and their impact in neuronal stem-cell differentiation.

Excerpt from ACA Summer Newsletter, 2014