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Protein Society honors Sanders

Feb. 28, 2013, 9:36 AM

Charles Sanders, Ph.D., professor of Biochemistry, has been selected as a recipient of the 2013 Hans Neurath Award from the Protein Society. He shares the honor with Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D., a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of California, Berkeley.

Charles Sanders, Ph.D.

The award will be presented at the society’s 27th annual symposium this July in Boston.

The Hans Neurath Award recognizes “individuals who have made a recent contribution of unusual merit to basic research in the field of protein science,” the Protein Society said in a news release.

Sanders “is being recognized for the central role he has played in developing the use of bicelles for structural study of membrane proteins, as well as for his hallmark achievements of determining the structure of diacylglycerol kinase and, more recently, the structure of the transmembrane C-terminal domain of the amyloid precursor protein (a protein involved in Alzheimer’s disease),” the society noted.

“Chuck has made numerous contributions to membrane protein structural biology and the application of NMR to the study of membrane protein structure and function,” said Walter Chazin, Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt Center for Structural Biology, who nominated Sanders for the award. “His work is epitomized by last year’s paper in Science on the amyloid precursor protein and its avid binding of cholesterol.”

The award is “an unexpected surprise,” Sanders said. “Among the previous recipients of this award are several of my scientific heroes.

“I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the contributions to the success of my research program by the terrific staff and scientists-in-training I have had the pleasure of working with over the years, my superb collaborators, the remarkable support I have received from the Center for Structural Biology, the Department of Biochemistry and funding agencies — especially the NIH, and by my family.”

Sanders joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2002. He earned his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University under the direction of Ming-Daw Tsai, Ph.D., and completed postdoctoral research with James Prestegard, Ph.D., at Yale University. Sanders’ honors include the Anatrace Membrane Protein Award from the Biophysical Society (2012), the VUMC Sidney P. Colowick Award for Research (2011) and the VU Chancellor’s Award for Research (2010).

His research program is currently devoted to elucidating the mechanisms by which membrane proteins contribute to human diseases.

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