In the next five months, three new laboratories will open on campus, their research centering on cellular metabolism, biological membranes, and molecular motors. Two of the new faculty recruits are tenure-track candidates who emerged as finalists in last year’s open search. The third, Thomas Walz, joins Rockefeller as a mid-career hire.
More than one in three U.S. adults is obese, a condition that puts them at risk for an alarming array of health problems, from diabetes and heart disease to cancer. But while obesity brings devastating consequences for many, some escape. For a select few, obesity causes little more than sore joints and fatigue, at least for a time.
Joseph Gleeson, a neurogeneticist who uses genetic sequencing to identify the causes of pediatric brain disease across its spectrum, including epilepsy, autism, intellectual disability and structural disorders, has joined Rockefeller as a professor and established the Laboratory of Pediatric Brain Diseases. Dr. Gleeson, formerly a professor at the University of California, San Diego, is one of two mid-career scientists who joined the university this summer (the other, Jue Chen, was featured in the June 13 issue of BenchMarks).
Jue Chen, a structural biologist whose research focuses on transporter proteins that act as the cell’s pumping machinery, will join Rockefeller as professor and head of laboratory in July. Dr. Chen, currently a tenured professor of biology at Purdue University in Indiana, is especially interested in the role of transporter proteins in health and disease.
Sebastian Klinge, named to Rockefeller’s faculty in June as its newest tenure-track member, is a biochemist and structural biologist interested in understanding the ribosome, the cell’s protein factory. Dr. Klinge’s laboratory, the Laboratory of Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry, opened on September 15. Dr. Klinge is the first junior faculty member to be recruited under the university’s nine-year strategic plan approved in 2012, and the first faculty member of any rank to join the university since Vanessa Ruta opened her laboratory in 2011.
Vanessa Ruta, a Rockefeller alumna who did her doctoral studies in Roderick Mac-Kinnon’s lab, graduating in 2005, has joined the university as assistant professor and will establish the Laboratory of Neurophysiology and Behavior. She moved from a postdoc at Columbia University on September 1.
Marc Tessier-Lavigne’s arrival at Rockefeller means the addition of not one, but two active neuroscience research programs to campus. This summer, Mary Hynes — Dr. Tessier-Lavigne’s wife and a well regarded neuroscientist in her own right — will relocate from Stanford. As research associate professor, she will investigate the development of the key cells targeted by Parkinson’s disease: dopaminergic neurons.
Understanding how fruit flies decide when to veer right and when to veer left is important work, not because it will help protect overripe bananas, but because it could lead to insights into how other organisms, including humans, make complex behavioral decisions.
Luciano Marraffini, a microbiologist, is interested in how bacterial pathogens modulate the transfer of foreign DNA into their genomes. He joined the university on July 1 as assistant professor and head of the Laboratory of Bacteriology.
Daniel Kronauer, who will join Rockefeller in July 2011 as head of the Laboratory of Insect Social Evolution, is interested in understanding how evolution operates at different levels of organization in the rich context of insect societies, from the gene to the individual and society as a whole.