American Society for Microbiology Honors Ekaterina Heldwein (ASM)

The below news release is a copy; the original was issued by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and can be viewed here.

(March 11, 2010) - A 2010 American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Merck Irving S. Sigal Memorial Award is being presented to Ekaterina "Katya" Heldwein, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology, Tufts University, Boston, MA, for her research on herpesvirus entry mechanisms. Sponsored by Merck Research Laboratories, the Merck Irving S. Sigal Memorial Award is presented in memory of Irving S. Sigal, who was instrumental in the early discovery of therapies to treat HIV/AIDS, to recognize excellence in basic research in medical microbiology and infectious diseases.

Heldwein received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Oregon Health and Sciences University, Portland, where she stayed for a short postdoctoral fellowship. Her crystallographic studies on the bacterial protein BmrR revealed the first structure of any multidrug binding transcription regulator in the free state as well as bound to a drug and to DNA. This groundbreaking work was published in Cell and Nature and provided significant insight into the functions of BmrR.

Heldwein completed her second postdoctoral fellowship at Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, where she studied viral pathogenesis. She focused specifically on herpesvirus entry mechanisms and her research showed the structure of HSV-1 gB. Her work provided unprecedented insight into the function of this critical fusion protein. Currently, she is working on the biochemical and biological structure of gB and other components of the viral entry apparatus.

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The Merck Irving S. Sigal Memorial Award will be presented during the 110th General Meeting of the ASM, May 23-27, 2010 in San Diego, CA. ASM is the world's oldest and largest life science organization and has more than 43,000 members worldwide. ASM's mission is to advance the microbiological sciences and promote the use of scientific knowledge for improved health and economic and environmental well-being.

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