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April 30, 2007

Nobel-winning pioneer in understanding cholesterol to give annual James V. Neel lecture at U-M

ANN ARBOR, MIJoseph L. Goldstein, M.D., a noted molecular genetics pioneer at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center whose discoveries two decades ago laid the groundwork for the development of statin drugs to lower cholesterol and prevent heart attacks, will give the seventh annual James V. Neel Lecture at the University of Michigan on Thursday, May 17 at 3 p.m.

Joseph GoldsteinThe talk, sponsored by the U-M Department of Human Genetics, takes place at the Biomedical Science Research Building Auditorium, located at 109 Zina Pitcher Place on the University of Michigan medical campus. A reception and poster session will follow the lecture. For information, call 734-764-5491.

The annual event honors James V. Neel, M.D., Ph.D., who founded the nation’s first human genetics department at U-M in 1956. Neel was among the first to foresee the role of genetics in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. Goldstein continues to explore that role today.

“Dr. Goldstein is one of America’s most prominent cardiovascular scientists,” says Kim Eagle, M.D., a director of the U-M Cardiovascular Center.

U-M Medical School Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine David Pinsky, M.D., also a director of the Cardiovascular Center, calls Goldstein “one of the great scientific-medical thinkers of our time who has made a difference.”

Goldstein and his longtime collaborator Michael S. Brown won a 1985 Nobel Prize for discovering a key protein on cell surfaces, the LDL receptor, that regulates how cholesterol is taken up in cells. Their work sparked a new understanding of heart disease and paved the way for drugs to treat it.

At the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, the two men continue to collaborate in laboratory research on a group of gene-activating proteins key to the normal process of lipid synthesis, work that sheds light on several diseases ranging from heart disease to obesity to diabetes. Goldstein’s U-M talk, “The SREBP Pathway: From Cholesterol Homeostasis in Cells to Neural Crest Defects in Embryos,” will explore aspects of his current research.

Goldstein is a past president of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and was a member of the Governing Council of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He also chaired the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Medical Advisory Board and the Lasker Awards jury.

Goldstein is an outstanding figure in the dwindling ranks of physician-scientists who both see patients and conduct basic laboratory research that focuses on discoveries and treatments relevant to real diseases, says Pinsky. “It is important to have role models such as Dr. Goldstein to inspire the next generation of physician scientists.”   

Written by: Anne Rueter

 

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