D Terri Goss Kinzy, PhD r. Kinzy has been working in the field of translation elongation for nearly 30 years, first as a graduate student and then as a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School faculty. “As it turns out, translation elongation is very important in infectious diseases,” she says. Her work has created new thinking about ways to develop treatment for diphtheria and for Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria—a major cause of lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis that is associated with increased inflammation, respiratory decline, and a poor prognosis. Dr. Kinzy joined Robert Wood Johnson Medical School as an assistant professor in 1995. In 2004, she was promoted to professor. Her work—leading to a full understanding of the entire translation elongation cycle in the process of gene expression—has made a significant contribution to biomedical research. Collaborating with a group at Aarhus University in Denmark, Dr. Kinzy has developed an understanding of the structure and function relationships in proteins required for assembling a protein sequence—and how that assembly affects gene expression efficiency and accuracy. During the process of gene expression, a nucleotide sequence directs protein synthesis and produces the structures of the cell. The process involves two stages: transcription and translation. During transcription, messenger RNAs (mRNAs) are produced. During translation, mRNAs assemble a series of amino acids in a specific sequence. During translation elongation, that series of amino acids is assembled into a chain. Since there are three dimensions to the structure, having a three-dimensional view of what’s happening in a cell is invaluable. “When you can see what it looks like, it’s easier to do the work,” says Dr. Kinzy. Translation elongation is more important than originally thought. One of the proteins is a target of bacterial toxins that kill cells—important in relation to both diphtheria and P. aeruginosa—a cause of an infection in patients with compromised host defense mechanisms that can be complicated and life threatening. Understanding how this toxin kills cells has also contributed insight into cystic fibrosis. “Our goal is to find better ways to treat these diseases and even possibly eliminate them,” says Dr. Kinzy. Her laboratory is currently also focusing on antifungal compounds. “People work hard in science and are dedicated to what they do,” says Dr. Kinzy in reaction to the AAAS fellowship. “The fact that your peers think highly about what you do is more important than money.” She is honored to be part of such a distinguished group of scientists and looks forward to continuing to advance the science of gene expression through her work. “ I Peter Lobel, PhD t’s fun to just make mud pies: try to solve problems and sometimes figure things out,” says Dr. Lobel. Basic science is something he clearly loves to pursue. With a smile in his voice, he comments that his discoveries “just happened along the way.” But there’s much more to what he’s achieved than he’d like you to believe. The work he and his laboratory have done to develop a process of understanding the workings of proteins and the lysosome has opened the door to treatments for rare diseases. Dr. Lobel came to Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in 1989. Recruited here as a young assistant professor, he started his own lab at the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine (CABM) to study how proteins get targeted to the lysosome in the cell. “The lysosome acts as the central digestive system of the cell,” he explains. “We study how things can be taken up from outside the cell and are delivered to the lysosome and then degraded.” There are many different resident lysosomal proteins tailored to break down all sorts of substances that reach the lysosome and then to transport those products out of the lysosome for reutilization by the cell. Dr. Lobel studied the target- 26 Robert Wood Johnson I MEDICINE