Charles Barlowe, PhD, chair and professor of biochemistry and cell biology at the Geisel School of Medicine, has been named the James C. Chilcott 1920 Professor. Barlowe is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, and a 2007 National Institutes of Health MERIT awardee.
“I am pleased to see Dr. Barlowe’s leadership and passion for discovery and education recognized with this appointment to the James C. Chilcott 1920 Professorship,” said Duane Compton, PhD, dean of the Geisel School of Medicine. “His research program has broken new ground in the mechanisms powering protein secretion, which is vital to cell and organ function.”
Barlowe earned his doctorate in biochemistry at the University of Texas at Austin and did postgraduate training at the University of California at Berkeley with Nobel Laureate Randy Schekman, PhD. A member of the medical school faculty since 1994, Barlowe was dean of graduate studies for Dartmouth College for four years prior to being named chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology in 2008.
At Dartmouth, Barlowe’s lab has focused on characterizing a part of the cellular transportation system known as the secretory pathway. He and his colleagues have defined the cellular machinery that transports secretory proteins from where they’re made — in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), an organelle within the cell’s cytoplasm — to other locations both inside and outside the cell.
Subsequent studies have shown that this stage in the transport process is involved in several disease processes, including atherosclerosis (the buildup of fatty deposits on artery walls), blood-clotting disorders, and certain congenital craniofacial abnormalities.
Most recently, Barlowe’s team identified new cellular components that appear to send misfolded secretory proteins dispatched prematurely from the ER back to that organelle. His hope is to understand how this action occurs, since these new components may be treatment targets for disorders caused by these misfolded proteins being retained in the secretory pathway.
Barlowe also enjoys teaching both medical students and graduate students, noting that it “helps me maintain perspective on the scientific endeavor.”
The Chilcott Professorship was established in 1986 with an anonymous gift and named in honor of James Chilcott, a 1920 graduate of Dartmouth College. Chilcott was a pharmaceutical executive with Warner-Chilcott, which was later acquired by Warner-Lambert. The Chilcott name also graces the primary lecture hall on Geisel’s Hanover campus. By funding the creation of named chairs, donors support the work of an institution’s most distinguished faculty members.
“I am honored to receive this appointment,” said Barlowe, “especially in the name of James Chilcott, because the Chilcotts have been such long-standing champions of the medical school and the work we do.
“I am also grateful,” he added, “for the opportunity to devote my efforts to teaching, mentoring, and discovery science at the institution that has nurtured my career for over 22 years.”