Edith and Peter O'Donnell Award Recipient: James Chen, Ph.D. (Science, 2007)

The Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas (TAMEST) recognized Zhijian "James" Chen, Ph.D., and David Mangelsdorf, Ph.D., as two of the state’s top rising stars in research in 2007.

Dr. Chen, Professor of Molecular Biology, and Dr. Mangelsdorf, Chairman of Pharmacology, received Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards from the academy at its annual conference in Austin. Each year, the awards honor three outstanding, up-and-coming researchers in science, medicine and engineering and their work. Each O’Donnell Award consists of a $25,000 honorarium, a citation and an inscribed statue.

Dr. Chen received the award for science, and Dr. Mangelsdorf for medicine. Dr. Antonios Mikos of Rice University in Houston received the award for engineering.

Dr. Chen’s work has revealed unexpected cellular functions that contribute to normal and cancerous cell growth and to immune response.

A protein called “the kiss of death” because it marks other proteins for destruction also turns out to be involved in normal cell growth and in abnormal cancerous growth. Cell structures that produce energy also contribute to immune response. The research of Zhijian “James” Chen, Ph.D., turns up surprising new roles for biochemical pathways and could provide a basis for new medical treatments.

The video is courtesy of The Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas (TAMEST).