Liu receives recognition for biological clock work

A UT Southwestern scientist has been recognized as an outstanding young investigator for his research on biological clocks by being named the second recipient of the Beadle and Tatum Award.

Dr. Yi Liu, assistant professor of physiology, was presented with the award March 27 at the Neurospora 2004 conference in Asilomar, Calif.

The award, given to one researcher every two years, is named after George Beadle and Edward Tatum, who received the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology in 1958 for their one gene/one enzyme theory. Working with Neurospora crassa, a type of bread mold, Beadle and Tatum hypothesized there was a one-to-one relationship between genes and specific enzymes.

The Beadle and Tatum Award was established by the community of Neurospora scientists to recognize outstanding research by young investigators. Dr. Liu was chosen by an international group of nine distinguished scientists for his work relating to molecular chronobiology, the molecular mechanisms that underlie an organism's daily biological, or circadian, clock.

"Dr. Liu's research is an excellent example of the power of combining biochemical, molecular, genetic and physiological approaches to address fundamental biological questions," said Dr. James Stull, chairman of physiology. "He is a remarkable young investigator who exemplifies scientific excellence."

In his research, Dr. Liu uses Neurospora crassa, one of the best-studied model organisms for circadian clocks. Biological clocks have been described in almost all organisms ranging in complexity from single cells to mammals, and function to control daily rhythms such as sleep-wake and activity cycles, body temperature cycles, endocrine
functions and gene expression.

Dr. Liu earned a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University and joined UT Southwestern in 1999, when he came to the Department of Physiology as the Louise W. Kahn Endowed Scholar in Biomedical Research.

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Media contact: Amanda Siegfried
214-648-3404
amanda.siegfried@utsouthwestern.edu

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