JCCC Scientist Honored with Prestigious Biomedical Science Award

David Eisenberg

Dr. David Eisenberg, a pioneer in the study of protein interactions in health and disease including cancer, has been named the 2015 recipient of the Bert and Natalie Vallee Award in Biomedical Science by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) in honor of his efforts.

Established in 2012 by the Bert and N. Kuggie Vallee Foundation, the Award recognizes international achievements in the sciences fundamental to medicine. It is bestowed upon an established scientist for outstanding accomplishments in basic biomedical research. The Award consists of a $10,000 cash award, a plaque and travel expenses for attendance at the ASBMB Annual Meeting to present a lecture.

Eisenberg, a member of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, has earned a world-renowned reputation as a biophysicist for his contributions to structural biology and computational molecular biology. He has studied protein interactions, specifically the structural basis for how a normal, functional protein converts to an abnormal, aggregated protein in amyloid and prion diseases. By further the understanding of why some of these types of diseases are transmissible between organisms and how they exert their toxic actions, his work has facilitated significant progress in developing new therapies for these neurodegenerative diseases.

Over the past ten years, Eisenberg’s laboratory has pioneered several key discoveries related to amyloid proteins, including discovering the first atomic-level structure for the spine of an amyloid fiber, and the determination of an additional 90 amyloid spines from 15 disease-related proteins, using a combination of bioinformatics and structural tools.

As professor of biological chemistry at UCLA, Eisenberg has also received awards acknowledging his cutting-edge scientific research including the Harvey Prize in Human Health, UCLA’s Seaborg Medal, Harvard University’s Westheimer Medal, ACS Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education in Chemistry and the International Society for Computational Biology Senior Scientist Award.