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Watermanís research accomplishments honored

BY: BY BILL SNYDER

3/22/2012 - Michael Waterman, Ph.D., the Natalie Overall Warren Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and former chair of the department, has been awarded the 2012 Schroepfer Medal by the American Oil Chemists' Society for his contributions to the steroid/sterol field.

Michael Waterman, Ph.D.

Michael Waterman, Ph.D.

Founded in 1909, the AOCS today is a global scientific society. The medal is named for the late George J. Schroepfer Jr., M.D., Ph.D., a Rice University researcher whose pioneering studies helped reveal the role of cholesterol in heart disease.

Waterman will receive a bronze medal and honorarium, and will give an award lecture at the AOCS Annual Meeting April 29-May 2 in Long Beach, Calif. The title of his talk is "Cholesterol and Cytochrome P450 Monooxygenases."

“George Schroepfer's contributions to our understanding of cholesterol function have had great impact on chemistry and medicine,” Waterman said. “It is a great honor for me to have my research accomplishments recognized by this award.”

Waterman is recognized as one of the leading experts on the structure, function and regulation of cytochrome P450 enzymes, which are required for the biosynthesis and metabolism of lipids, including the steroid hormones cortisol, estrogen and progesterone.

In addition to studying these enzymes, his current interest focuses on the enzymes expressed in the soil bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor, a major producer of antimicrobials, as well as the essential cholesterol biosynthetic P450 in trypanosomes, parasitic protozoa that cause potentially fatal tropical diseases including sleeping sickness.

With approximately 300 peer-reviewed journal articles listed in his curriculum vitae, Waterman has been among the most-cited scientists in pharmacology and toxicology.

He is a consultant to government and industry, a sought-after lecturer, a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and an NIH Merit Award winner.

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