Einstein Events Remember Dr. Dennis Shields

The Einstein community remembered a remarkable faculty member – and recognized another remarkable scientist who was once his colleague – at the Dennis Shields Memorial Lecture on Monday, November 5.

Dr. Peter Walter, distinguished professor at the University of California, San Francisco, spoke on "The Unfolded Protein Response in Health and Disease."

The memorial lecture honored Dr. Dennis Shields, an internationally recognized cellular biologist who died in 2008 after serving on the faculty for 30 years. At the time of his passing, Dr. Shields was a much-loved professor of developmental and molecular biology and of anatomy and structural biology. He also had served as the first director of the Belfer Institute for Advanced Biomedical Sciences, which oversees postdoctoral life at Einstein.

Drs. Shields and Walter worked briefly together in the Rockefeller University lab of Nobel laureate Dr. Günter Blobel.

In his lecture, Dr. Walter discussed how cells detect and respond to proteins that are assembled and folded improperly in the endoplasmic reticulum. Controlling levels of misfolded proteins is critical, because excessive levels can lead to cell death and play a role in diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

Dr. Walter was introduced by another former colleague of Dr. Shields, Dr. E. Richard Stanley, who holds the Renee E. and Robert A. Belfer Chair in Developmental Biology.

The remembrance of Dr. Shields continued on Tuesday, November 13, when three Einstein postdoctoral fellows received the 2012 Dennis Shields Prizes for Outstanding Postdoctoral Research.

The $5,000 prizes, which recognize published research done at Einstein, went to Drs. José Javier Bravo-Cordero, in anatomy and structural biology; Saidi M'Homa Soudja, in microbiology & immunology; and Brian Scharf, in pathology.

The awards were presented by Dr. Allen Spiegel, the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean at Einstein; Dr. Jonathan Backer, the current director of the Belfer Institute; and Mrs. Toni Shields, the widow of Dr. Shields.

The awardees presented brief overviews of their work at a ceremony and luncheon, which also featured poster sessions by other postdocs. Five of these researchers were honored with travel awards of $500 toward attending future scientific meetings.

Memorial lecture speaker, Peter Walter, Ph.D.
Memorial lecture speaker, Peter Walter, Ph.D.
Dr. Jonathan Backer and Mrs. Toni Shields flank award recipients, Drs. Brian Scharf, José  Javier Bravo-Cordero and Saidi M'Homa Soudja
Dr. Jonathan Backer and Mrs. Toni Shields flank award recipients, Drs. Brian Scharf, José Javier Bravo-Cordero and Saidi M'Homa Soudja
Dennis Shields, Ph.D.
Dennis Shields, Ph.D.

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