Swedish Invitations — Dr. Vern Schramm was invited to give two talks in Sweden about his specialized research in developing activity blockers (inhibitors) for proteins called enzymes. Inhibiting enzyme activity has proven to be an effective way to treat various diseases, including malaria, leukemia, and HIV-1. Dr. Schramm presented “Enzymatic Transition States, Analogues and Protein Dynamics” at the 2012 Trends in Organic Chemistry Symposium, held in Uppsala, Sweden. He then traveled to Stockholm, where he presented “Drug Design from Transition State Analysis” at the Karolinska Institute Seminar. Dr. Schramm is professor and chair of biochemistry, and the Ruth Merns Chair in Biochemistry.
Heart of the Issue — In the November 17 online issue of Atherosclerosis, Dr. Robert Kaplan and colleagues examine whether blood cholesterol levels in HIV-positive women predict atherosclerosis, a disease that results from deposits of cholesterol (fats) in the arteries. An ultrasound scan of the carotid arteries of the neck can detect atherosclerosis – this measure was compared in HIV-infected women with different blood cholesterol levels. The researchers found a strong association between higher cholesterol levels and more atherosclerosis among women on HIV medications, but not among women who were not receiving HIV treatment. These results offer important implications for detecting cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk among patients with HIV, suggesting that standard blood cholesterol levels may not be an adequate indicator of CVD in untreated HIV infected women. Other Einstein investigators included Dr. Kathryn Anastos and Christina Parrinello who was the paper's lead author. Dr. Kaplan is professor of epidemiology & population health; Dr. Anastos is professor of obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health; and Ms. Parrinello was a research associate in epidemiology & population health.
The “Wright” Stuff — The American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) presented its 2012 Irving Wright Award of Distinction to Dr. Jan Vijg. Named for AFAR’s founder, the award honors individuals who have made exceptional contributions to basic or clinical research in the field of aging. As the award recipient, Dr. Vijg presented the Wright Award lecture “Genome Dynamics in Aging” at the 65th Gerontological Society of America annual meeting on November 16, 2012. He is professor and chair of genetics.