Silva, Damo won Diversity Leadership Awards

Steven Damo

Gustavo Silva

Steven Damo and Gustavo Silva, US biochemistry and molecular biology fellows, are among 25 researchers selected to receive the first Science Diversity Leadership Awards, a new grant launched by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Damo is Chair and Assistant Professor of Life and Physical Sciences at Fisk University. He was recognized for his project “Studies of the structure of metalloproteinases in group B Strep” which elucidated the biochemical properties of the bacterial zinc flux protein, which plays an important role in adverse pregnancy outcomes. Damo’s lab studies how metals alter protein function. Damo helps write and grade the ASBMB accreditation exam, and Fisk is the first black institution to receive ASBMB accreditation.

Silva is an assistant professor of biology at Duke University. He was honored for his project, “Unraveling the functional ubiquitinome in health and disease,” which studies how ubiquitin signals determine neuronal physiology and proteostasis. Silva’s lab is interested in how cells respond to common stressors in inflammation and disease. Silva is a member of the ASBMB’s High Access Committee.

Both investigators prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion and train the next generation of scientists at their institutions. They have a strong track record in research, mentoring, teaching and outreach.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and NASEM are recognizing recipients of the Science Diversity Leadership Award for scientific and mentoring achievement. Each awardee will receive $1.15 million over five years to support research programs and service, consulting and teaching activities.

Sonenberg was named to the Hall of Fame

Nahum Sonnenberg was inducted into the Canadian Hall of Medicine for his discovery of the elF4E protein and his efforts to establish the field of translational control in medicine.

An image of Nahum Sonnenberg's laboratory

Nahum Sonenberg

Sonnenberg is a professor of biochemistry at McGill University. Sonenberg’s lab studies the molecular basis of protein synthesis regulation and its relevance to disease. In a recent discovery, the lab showed that inhibiting eIF4E phosphorylation reduces tumor growth and metastasis. Sonnenberg is working with the pharmaceutical industry to translate this discovery into treatment for patients. In addition, the laboratory investigates learning and memory and neural translational control mechanisms in neurological and neurodegenerative disorders.

Sonnenberg received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Weizmann Institute of Science in 1976, and then completed postdoctoral training at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology in Nutley, NJ. The National Cancer Institute of Canada’s Robert L. In the year He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2006 and Member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has trained more than 160 graduate students and post-graduate researchers.

The six 2023 Canadian Hall of Medicine inductees will be honored at a ceremony in June at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.

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