Biochemistry faculty members are “Outstanding”

Dale Dorsett, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry and Angel Baldan, Ph.D, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, have been named Outstanding Scientists in 2013 by the Academy of Science of St. Louis. Dr. Dorsett will receive the Fellows Award and Dr. Baldan will receive the Innovation Award.

Dale has been called “the godfather of cohesinopathies.” His discoveries have steered the course of understanding and potential therapy for this class of human genetic disorders. Dale’s pioneering work has advanced knowledge in the fundamental mechanism of gene control during development. His research papers have been cited in thousands of publications, testifying to the impact of his discoveries on modern cell and molecular biology. The impact of his work truly extends from the bench to the clinic.

Angel began his groundbreaking studies on atherosclerosis as a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA. He showed that mice lacking a protein called ABCG1 develop massive cholesterol deposition and lipid release in the lung, resembling life-threatening human respiratory distress syndrome. This has important implications for the clinical course of lung infections, asthma, allergies and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Since moving to St. Louis, Angel discovered the gene for sterol regulatory element binding protein 2 (SREBP-2) contains within it a second gene for a key regulatory RNA, called miR-33. This finding uncovered an unexpected mechanism by which the cholesterol-lowering statin drugs work and showed that miR-33 regulates key bile transporters in the liver, significant for patients with certain mutations. These findings suggest novel therapeutic approaches to manage patients at risk for cardiovascular disease and provide new insight into statin therapy and improving the effectiveness and safety of cholesterol-lowering medication.

The Outstanding St. Louis Scientist Awards will be presented on April 24, 2013 in the Starlight Room of the Chase Park Plaza. For more information on the awardees, please see the story in Newslink.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology