San Francisco March for Science!!!
ACSB President Column / June 2016 – “On Careers and 42” By Peter Walter
What is the secret to a successful career in science?” is a question that I often encounter when meeting with students and postdocs at various institutions. It is a loaded question to which there is no tangible answer, and I always enjoy the discussion that follows …
ASCB President Column / October 2016 – “On Research Funding and the Power of Youth” By Arshad Desai, Peter Walter and Tony Hyman
A person who has not made his great contribution to science before the age of thirty will never do so.” While this quip of Albert Einstein’s certainly does not generally apply to cell biologists, it is well recognized that innovation in science and technology tends to be driven by youth. We only have to look at pioneers of Silicon Valley, physics at the turn of the 20th century, or the average age at which Nobel prize winners perform their ground-breaking work (Figure 1) to remind ourselves that any society that wishes to push true innovation needs to enable its young investigators. Tangibly, it needs to fund their research based on promise, and it needs to promote their paths to early independence …
Reproducibility in scientific research has recently become a hot topic of immense importance to our community. Reports on the unreliability of published research have severely tarnished the image of our profession, as exemplified by an article entitled “How science goes wrong” published in the The Economist in 2013.4 Publishing bad science is bad for all of us. As a community we need to realize the importance of this issue and the major efforts that are underway to respond. In 2014, the ASCB convened a task force that issued a white paper,5 which includes tangible and constructive recommendations on how to improve current publication methods and standards, to ensure the publication of high-quality data. This is an excellent, must-read document, and I urge every researcher and publisher to implement its recommendations …
Walter Lab art makes the December cover of EMBO Reports:
The unfolded protein response (UPR) is a stress signaling network that alleviates protein folding perturbations in the endoplasmic reticulum. The most conserved branch of the UPR relies on the splicing of XBP1 mRNA, which results in the synthesis of a potent transcription factor. A zipper‐like RNA conformational change ensures the fidelity of this non‐conventional splicing reaction to shut down ER stress. From Jirka Peschek, Diego Acosta‐Alvear, Aaron S. Mendez and Peter Walter: A conformational RNA zipper promotes intron ejection during non‐conventionalXBP1 mRNA splicing. For details, see the Article on p 1688. © Cover image by Diego Acosta‐Alvear and Jirka Peschek. University of California San Francisco.
News Release, Mar 23, 2015:
Peter Walter: Winner of the 2015 Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Science!
Peter Walter was chosen as winner of the Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Science for his pioneering work on how proteins are transported between cellular compartments and for unraveling the components of a regulatory mechanism that cells use to handle stress tied to the aggregation of misshapen proteins. Dr. Walter is a professor of biochemistry at the University of California, San Francisco. His research lays the groundwork for treating a range of human diseases related to defective protein folding and transport.
Over nearly four decades, Dr. Walter’s work in cell biology has led to a fundamental understanding of important elements of the process by which proteins are ferried from their place of manufacture in cells to the final destinations where they function. During the 1980s, Dr. Walter discovered a molecular apparatus in cells called the signal recognition particle, which facilitates the transport of newly minted proteins across a cellular compartment called the endoplasmic reticulum by homing in on address tags on the proteins. Dr. Walter’s steadfast investigations into the structure, versatility, and conservation of the apparatus across different forms of life have afforded crucial insights into factors that govern cellular compartmentalization and function. The significance of these findings is borne out by the large number of human diseases tied to disrupted protein transport in cells; treating such diseases requires a basic understanding of the underlying cellular processes that have gone awry.
In the mid-1990s, Dr. Walter added to our growing appreciation of how cells handle stress tied to the buildup of improperly folded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum. Working with yeast as a model organism, Dr. Walter and Kyoto University molecular biologist Kazutoshi Mori simultaneously identified key elements of the signaling mechanism underlying the “unfolded protein response.” Dr. Walter’s findings on the unfolded protein response bear implications for the treatment of human diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa, cystic fibrosis, and multiple myeloma.
Peter Walter moved from his native Berlin to the United States in 1976 and earned a PhD in 1981 under the tutelage of Rockefeller University cell biologist and Nobel Prize winner Günter Blobel. He accepted a faculty position at the University of California, San Francisco, in 1983. The seminal nature of Dr. Walter’s accomplishments is evidenced by his many honors. He is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, the European Molecular Biology Organization, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His work has earned him the 2009 Gairdner International Award, the 2014 Shaw Prize, and the 2014 Lasker Basic Medical Research Award.
The Vilcek Foundation awards the Vilcek Prizes annually to immigrants who have made lasting contributions to American society through their extraordinary achievements in biomedical research and the arts and humanities.
For more information, visit: http://www.vilcek.org/prizes/overview…
Executive Producer: The Vilcek Foundation
Director, Producer & Videographer: THEY bklyn
Editor: Nicole Turney
Graphics: Nice Soft T-Shirt
Music & Sound: Podington Bear and Casey Holford
UPR Video wins the CASE Circle of Excellence, Video, News and Research Bronze Award!
What is the Unfolded Protein Response? Got 3 minutes?
The animated video titled “What is the Unfolded Protein Response?” provides a simple explanation for a complex biological process. The unfolded protein response is the basis for a broad range of disease research, including diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, typically not an easily understandable concept for the general public. This video targeted a 12th-grade comprehension level to make this concept accessible to a wider science audience.