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08/08/1997 07:00:00

Caltech biologist named Beckman Young Investigator

PASADENA--Dr. Raymond Deshaies, a biochemist at the California Institute of Technology, has been named the newest Beckman Young Investigator by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation of Irvine, Calif. Deshaies will receive $200,000 over the next two years for his work on the mechanisms of cell division control. Much of his work concerns a single-celled organism familiarly known as baker's yeast, which for a variety of technical reasons is an excellent medium for fundamental research.

Dr. Steven E. Koonin, vice president and provost at Caltech, said in endorsing the nomination of Deshaies for the grant that his work is already taking advantage of the recently-completed genome sequence for yeast.


"Work done in many laboratories over the past several years has demonstrated that there is a remarkable similarity in the regulation of cell division among all eukaryotes--from the humble yeast cell to the far more complicated and varied ensemble of cells that comprise a human," Koonin wrote. "Cell division plays a critical role in normal development, and aberrations in the control of cell division can cause cancer."


Deshaies has been an assistant professor of biology at Caltech since January 1994. He earned his doctorate in 1988 at UC Berkeley, and has held postdoctoral appointments at both Berkeley and UC San Francisco.


The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, located in Irvine, Calif., makes grants to nonprofit research institutions to promote research in chemistry and the life sciences. Also, the grants are intended to foster the invention of methods, instruments and materials that will open up new avenues of research in science.


The Beckman Young Investigators program is intended to provide research support to the most promising young faculty members in the early stages of academic careers in the chemical and life sciences.