For Release: June 19, 2007
Contact: DMS Communications
DMS Professors Win Prestigious Research Awards
HANOVER, NH—Two Dartmouth Medical School researchers have been selected for MERIT awards from the National Institutes of Health, a recognition reserved for accomplished and successful scientists.
Dr. Charles Barlowe, professor of biochemistry, and Dr. Ron Taylor, professor of microbiology and immunology, have each received the prestigious awards, based on "superior competence and outstanding productivity," according to the NIH. Both grants were effective May 1.
MERIT is an acronym for Method to Extend Research In Time. The exceptional awards are made to top NIH grant recipients and are designed to spur creativity with long-term stable support of up to 10 years. Nine other DMS faculty members have had MERIT awards since 1990.
Barlowe focuses on intracellular transport, which is essential for cell growth and function. His research has helped elucidate how proteins made deep within the cell make their complex journey on transit vehicles to reach the cell surface or other final destinations. The work is particularly helpful for understanding how hormones and many other important proteins safely travel through cells for secretion into the blood stream. He discovered that vesicles conveying their secretory cargo use a novel coat protein complex, (COPII), and has mapped the biochemical pathway for this cell trafficking system. He will continue to explore this protein transit system in yeast with the grant Mechanisms of COPII-Dependent Transport.
Taylor's work on cholera aims to open new strategies for improved vaccines and therapies against a disease that is life-threatening and epidemic in countries around the world. Studying how the bacterium Vibrio cholerae attaches to the human gut and multiplies, he has teased apart the molecular components that allow the organism to colonize in the small intestine and release a toxin that leads to severe diarrhea and dehydration. Building on his discoveries of key protein structures and genes involved in the colonization process, Taylor will further define the web of interactions that promote or prevent serious human infection. His award is Genetic Determinants of Virulence in Vibrio cholerae.
Barlowe joined the DMS faculty in 1994 after receiving his PhD from the University of Texas, Austin and doing postdoctoral training at UC Berkeley. He is the dean of graduate studies for Dartmouth. Taylor, who joined the faculty in 1993, has a PhD from the University of MD and did postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School.