Many congratulations to Carol Mackintosh who has just been promoted by the University of Dundee to a Professorship. Carol is internationally recognised for her research into the role of 14-3-3 proteins in regulating both plant and mammalian cells. She has published over 60 science papers and reviews, given 35 lectures at national and international scientific meetings and is in the top 1% of most cited scientists over the past 10 years in the field of Plant and Animal Sciences.
Unit Director Philip Cohen was in Hungary on November 26th and 27th to receive the Debrecen Prize for Molecular Medicine and an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Debrecen.
The Prize of 10,000 Euros was presented by Laszlo Nagy, President of the University of Debrecen, after which Philip presented a lecture entitled ‘Protein kinase inhibitors, the major drugs of the 20th Century?' The event was covered extensively by Hungarian television and a number of radio stations.
The following day, Philip received an Honorary Doctorate from Rector Janos Nagy at the University's graduation ceremony, together with Alexandre Lamfalussy, the first President of the European Monetary Institute, who was responsible for conceiving and introducing the Euro.
Philip Cohen gave the opening Plenary Lecture on September 27th 2004, at the Combined Meetings of the Australian and New Zealand Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Societies.
On 2 September Philip Cohen was presented with a Royal Medal in recognition of his outstanding contributions to Life Sciences. A Royal Medal is the highest award the Royal Society of Edinburgh can bestow and are given in recognition of intellectual endeavour that has had a profound influence of people's lives, worldwide.
Also receiving Royal Medals were Professor Sir Neil MacCormick, one of the world's leading philosophers of Law and Professor Robin Milner a leading computer scientist. The medals were presented by Lord Sutherland of Houndwood, President of the RSE.
Claire Haydon and Pat Eyers, who obtained their PhDs in Philip Cohen's group from 1996-2000 (Pat) and 1998-2002 (Claire), are to be married in Salisbury, Wiltshire on Saturday, 11 September 2004.
This is the fifth time that Philip has successfully acted as matchmaker. In the 1970's two of his postdocs, Gillian and Hugh Nimmo were married, while in the 1990's Ana Cuenda and Dario Alessi (then postdocs with Philip) got hitched. More recently Greg Moorhead (Postdoc with Philip and Carol MacKintosh from 1993-1998) married Pauline Douglas (PhD student with Carol from 1993-1997), while Kay Walker (PhD student with Philip from 1995-1998) married Martin Doherty (PhD student with Tricia Cohen from 1994-1997). Nimesh Mody (PhD student with Philip from 2000-2003) and Mirela Delibegovic (PhD student with Tricia from 1999-2003) have also announced their engagement.
In addition Anudharan Balendran (PhD student with Dario from 1997-2001) and Claire Hall-Jackson (Postdoc with Philip from 1997-2000) were married last year and whose baby son, Kiran Joshua was born in January 2004.
Tricia and Philip Cohen won the Badger's Trophy held at the Dukes Golf Course at St Andrews on August 22nd. The event was a Mixed Greensome. In this format the male and female members of the team both drive off at each hole, and then elect which ball to play. Thereafter, the two members of the team hit alternate shots. Tricia and Philip will be presented with the Badger's Trophy at the annual prize-giving dinner on December 10th.
David Komander, an MRC Predoctoral Fellow, co-supervised by Dario Alessi and Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow, Daan van Aalten, was selected as one of the ten finalists in the Biochemical Journal Young Investigator Award Competition out of 157 applicants, at the World Conference on Second Messengers and Phosphoproteins, Montreal, August 3-7.
David’s abstract was entitled “Structural Studies of 3-phosphoinositide Dependent Protein Kinase (PDK1): new insights in regulation of substrate interaction and localisation”.
Dario Alessi was presented with a cheque for £2012 for diabetes research on 3 August 2004 from Camperdown Lodge. The donation was the proceeds from their Gala Day held on 10 July. On receiving the cheque Dario said "I would like to thank all those at the Camperdown Lodge who made a tremendous effort to raise over £2000 that will enable us to perform research into understanding the causes of Type II diabetes. It is a great privilege to receive support for our research from the local community of Dundee".
Philip Cohen has agreed to become the patron of STEM, a local organisation which has the objective of enhancing the interest of Primary and Secondary School children in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. STEM was recently launched at ‘Sensation’, the Dundee Science Centre.
In June 2004, Mercedes Pozuelo Rubio, postdoctoral researcher with Carol MacKintosh, was awarded a prestigious five year ‘Ramon y Cajal’ Fellowship from the Spanish government. Mercedes plans to use her award to establish a research programme in the CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas) laboratory in the Centro Andaluz de Biologia del Desarrollo in Seville. ‘Ramon y Cajal’ awards are a new sort of ‘tenure track’ position, awarded by competition, that have been created to provide better job prospects for the best Spanish researchers and promote the dynamism of research in Spain.
Greg Moorhead, former postdoc in both Sir Philip Cohen and Carol MacKintosh’s groups (1993-1998), and now associate professor in the University of Calgary, has been awarded a Killam Resident Fellowship. This award recognizes merit in research, and provides Greg with an opportunity to focus on his personal research for a year, free of teaching and administrative duties.
On May 22nd 2004, Philip Cohen received the honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine from the University of Linkoping, Sweden, for his contributions to the research in the Life Sciences and the development of Biotechnology in Dundee. Commenting on the award Philip said “This came as a most unexpected surprise but one that I am delighted to accept on behalf of everyone in the MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit and Faculty of Life Sciences at Dundee. I was also surprised to receive a request from Linkoping for the circumference of one of my fingers. Apparently, I will be given a ring during the ceremony to signify my ‘marriage’ with the University of Linkoping.”
On 20 February 2004, Philip Cohen opened the Henry Wellcome Laboratories for Cellular Research in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UCL. Philip and Tricia are former students of the Department.
The ceremony was attended by the Provost, Vice-Provost of Biomedicine, Dean of Life Sciences, the Wellcome Trust, guests and staff.
Funding from the Wellcome Trust, HEFCE and UCL have transformed the derelict sub-basement of the Darwin building into a suite of state-of-the-art laboratories. Embryonic stem cells, limb-regeneration, prions, DNA recombination, heart disease, adverse drug reactions, diabetes and protein-ligand interactions are just some of the exciting areas of research to benefit from the improved infra-structure provided by the new laboratories.
The opening was followed by an enjoyable dinner with staff members of the Biochemistry Department who included, Philip and Tricia's former PhD Supervisors, Michael Rosemeyer and Ernie Huehns.
From 26th - 30th January 2004, the Unit's Director, Philip Cohen, was a guest of The British Council in West and South India, participating in their "Ambassador's Programme". Over the first five days he and Tricia visited The National Chemical Laboratory, The Institute for Cell Biology, the Bioinformatics Institute and the University of Pune in Pune, the Indian Institute of Technology and the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research in Bombay and the University of Hyderabad, Dr Reddy's Pharmaceutical Company, the National Institute of Nutrition and the Centre for Cell and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad.
The packed programme also included five lectures including a public lecture at the British Council Headquarters in Bombay. Tricia and Philip then flew to Jaipur via Delhi, from where they were driven to the remote Ranthambore National Park. Over the next two days their four drives into the 225 square mile reserve were rewarded by two sightings of tigers in the wild.
The Moffat Charitable Trust recently donated £75,000 to the Unit, to fund a PhD student in Dario Alessi's laboratory, researching an area of diabetes. Abdallah Al-Hakim has been appointed to the studentship. Born in Egypt, Abdallah's family moved to Canada when he was 13 and he is now a Canadian citizen. Abdallah was previously an undergraduate at Toronto University, Canada, where he carried out important research in the laboratory of Bernard Schimmer on adenylate cyclases, which led to publication of a first authored paper in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology while still an undergraduate. He started his project in Dundee on 23 January 2004 working on the function of the novel AMPK-related kinases, which are activated by the LKB1 tumour suppressor protein kinase.