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2007 Krebs Lecture

2007 Edwin G. Krebs Lectureship in Molecular Pharmacology

The Twentieth Annual Edwin G. Krebs Lecture in Molecular Pharmacology
Sponsored by an endowment from Sterling Winthrop, Inc.

Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases: Their Roles in Health and Disease

by: Jack Dixon, Ph.D.
University of California San Diego School of Medicine

Tuesday, June 12, 2007
3:30 PM, Room D209 HSC

Dr. Jack Dixon is Professor of Pharmacology, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Chemistry and Biochemistry, at the University of California, San Diego, and Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. A graduate of UCLA in zoology, Dr. Dixon received his Ph.D. degree in chemistry from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He was a postdoctoral fellow with Professor N. O. Kaplan at UCSD, and joined the Department of Biochemistry at Purdue University as Assistant Professor in 1973. He became Harvey W. Wiley Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry at Purdue, before leaving to become Chair of the Department of Biological Chemistry and Director of the Life Sciences Institute at the University of Michigan. He moved to San Diego to become Dean of Scientific Affairs in the School of Medicine at UCSD.

Dr. Dixon is a leading investigator of phosphoprotein phosphatases, the enzymes that reverse the regulatory effects of protein phosphorylation. His early work focused on regulation of gene expression and protein processing of the peptide hormones somatostatin and prolactin. In a separate project on the bubonic plague pathogen Yersinia pestis, he discovered that a major virulence gene was a phosphoprotein phosphatase. That important discovery propelled his work into studies of phosphatases in other bacteria and in eukaryotes. He discovered the first dual specificity phosphatase, capable of hydrolyzing both phosphoserine and phosphotyrosine, and showed that the PTEN tumor suppressor is an inositol lipid phosphatase. His work has made many advances in understanding the structure, catalytic mechanism, and physiological function of phosphoprotein phosphatases and has provided crucial new insights into control of the balance of protein phosphorylation and dephosphorylation in cellular regulation and in molecular pharmacology.

Dr. Dixon has served in many scientific leadership posts, including President of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Member of the Medical Advisory Board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Chair of the Section of Biochemistry of the National Academy of Sciences. His work has been recognized by election to the National Academy of Sciences, and he was appointed Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute earlier this year.