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VUís Armstrong recognized by Karolinska Institute

BY: BILL SNYDER

12/01/2011 - Richard Armstrong, Ph.D., professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry, has been appointed foreign adjunct professor at the famed Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

Richard Armstrong, Ph.D.

Richard Armstrong, Ph.D.

The six-year appointment, which begins in 2012, recognizes Armstrong’s internationally known scientific achievements, as well as his collaborations with Karolinska scientists.

The Karolinska Institute is home to the Nobel Assembly of Karolinska professors, which awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

“This is a terrific honor in recognition of a decade-long collaboration between our lab and the groups of Drs. Ralf Morgenstern, Per-Johan Jakobson and Hans Hebert at the KI,” said Armstrong, who also is editor-in-chief of the journal Biochemistry.

“It continues to generate excellent science and is great fun, with graduate students and postdocs traveling between the KI and Vanderbilt to do experiments,” he said.

Armstrong, who has been a member of the Vanderbilt faculty since 1995, has made significant contributions to understanding detoxification enzymes — proteins that metabolize foreign molecules such as drugs, toxins and other chemicals and which are essential to an organism's ability to resist chemical insults.

A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Armstrong is the recipient of the 2011 Repligen Award in the Chemistry of Biological Processes, presented earlier this year by the Division of Biological Chemistry of the American Chemical Society.

In 2005, VUMC honored him with the Stanley Cohen Award for his application of cutting-edge technology and chemistry to determine the mechanisms of action of enzymes involved in the metabolism of foreign or xenobiotic molecules.

Vanderbilt has a longtime relationship with Karolinska. Many of Vanderbilt’s well-established investigators have either trained or collaborated with investigators at the institute on various research studies.

While a rare honor, Armstrong’s adjunct appointment at Karolinska is not unprecedented.

Longtime School of Medicine Dean John Chapman, M.D., who died in 2004, was named foreign adjunct professor at Karolinska in 1992, and was awarded an honorary doctor of medicine degree by the institute in 1986.

Chapman was instrumental in forging close ties between the two institutions.

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