IAHD Accolade — The Institutes for Applied Human Dynamics honored Dr. Robert Marion with a Distinguished Humanitarian Award in May. The honor recognizes Dr. Marion’s dedication and service to countless patients with developmental disorders and their families, and for the exceptional mentorship he has provided to students and staff throughout his career. Dr. Marion is professor of pediatrics and of obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health, chief of child development and of genetics, within pediatrics and director of the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center. He also holds the Ruth L. Gottesman Chair in Developmental Pediatrics.
A Presentation First — Dr. Vern Schramm, professor and chair of biochemistry, presented “Enzymatic Transition States and Drug Design” as the inaugural Ferrier Lecture at Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand. Dr. Schramm discussed his pioneering work on the design and synthesis of transition state analogues, which inhibit the enzymes involved in the progression of various pathologies, such as leukemia, gout, cancer, malaria and antibiotic-resistance. Two of the inhibitors designed by the Schramm laboratory are currently in clinical trials while others are in earlier stages of drug development. Dr. Schramm also holds the Ruth Merns Chair of Biochemistry.
Antibody Therapeutics — Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that protect against toxins, or protective mAbs, have proven to be useful agents for treating infectious diseases caused by toxins in one’s system. Paradoxically, most of the antibodies that are generated to fight toxins are non-protective in nature. In seeking greater understanding of this role about which very little is known, researchers led by graduate student Siu-Kei Chow and his mentor Dr. Arturo Casadevall have shown that, compared to protective mAb treatment alone, a combination of protective and non-protective mAbs against anthrax toxin protective antigen (PA) leads to synergistic protection in mice challenged with anthrax toxin. The enhanced defense is driven by the formation of PA complexes that contain both types of antibodies, which results from the ability of each arm of the mAbs to bind to different targets. Through the demonstration of the protective potential of these mAbs, researchers may have promising new possibilities for antibody-based therapeutic study. The findings appear in the April 17 issue of Cell Host & Microbe. Dr. Casadevall is professor and chair of and microbiology & Immunology, as well as professor of medicine (infectious diseases). He also holds the Leo and Julia Forchheimer Chair in Microbiology & Immunology and is director of the Center for Immunological Sciences.