Issue Date: March 12, 2007
Marletta Wins Gustavus John Esselen Award
Michael A. Marletta, Aldo DeBenedictis Chair in Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, will receive the 2007 Gustavus John Esselen Award. Presented annually by the ACS Northeastern Section, the award honors outstanding scientific achievement that contributes to the public well-being and communicates positive values of the chemical profession.
Marletta's pioneering work in nitric oxide biochemistry provided the information for the isolation and characterization of nitric oxide synthase, a complex redox protein whose structural features he elucidated. He demonstrated that the synthase contains a cytochrome P-450-type heme. It now is known that NO plays a critical role in signal transduction and in the immune response to infection.
In his current research, Marletta is developing proteins that can circulate in the blood and perform its oxygen-carrying functions without interfering with the role of NO. Such proteins may be candidates for the production of a blood substitute that could be stored as a package of dry chemicals which, upon addition of water, could be infused in the same manner as standard intravenous fluids.
Marletta will receive the Esselen Award on April 12 during a ceremony at the Mallinckrodt Chemistry Laboratories at Harvard University. His talk is titled "Nitric Oxide in Biology: From Discovery to Therapeutics."
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