The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology presented the 16th Annual George Adrouny Memorial Lectureship on Monday, April 10th, 2017, at 10:00am in the 1st floor auditorium of the Louisiana Cancer Research Center, 1700 Tulane Avenue.
The featured speaker was Judith Campisi, PhD, Professor of biogerontology at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. She is also a member of the SENS Research Foundation Advisory Board and an adviser at the Lifeboat Foundation. She is co-editor in chief of the Aging Journal, together with Mikhail Blagosklonny and David Sinclair.
Campisi received her BA in Chemistry in 1974 and PhD in Biochemistry in 1979 from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and completed her postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School in 1982. She initially joined Boston University Medical School, and moved onto the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as a Senior Scientist in 1991. She then moved to the Buck Institute in 2002.
She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Longevity Prize from the Ipsen Foundation and the Olav Thon Foundation Prize.
Judith Campisi has received international recognition for her contributions to understanding why age is the largest single risk factor for developing a panoply of diseases, ranging from neurodegeneration to cancer. Her highly acclaimed research integrates the genetic, environmental and evolutionary forces that result in aging and age-related diseases, and identifies pathways that can be modified to mitigate basic aging processes.
Dr. Campisi also makes significant contributions to understanding why aging is the largest single risk factor for developing cancer. She is widely recognized for her work on senescent cells -- older cells that have stopped dividing -- and their influence on aging and cancer. Senescence occurs when cells experience certain types of stress, especially stress that can damage the genome. The senescence response helps prevent cancer by blocking damaged cells from multiplying. But there is a trade off - the lingering senescent cells may also cause harm to the body. The Campisi lab found evidence that senescent cells can disrupt normal tissue functions and, ironically, drive the progression of cancer over time. Senescent cells also promote inflammation, which is a common feature of all major age-related diseases. Dr. Campisi is collaborating with many other research groups at the Buck Institute to examine other suspected influences of senescent cells on other diseases of aging. Her research is shedding light on anti-cancer genes, DNA repair mechanisms that promote longevity, molecular pathways that protect cells against stress, and stem cells and their role in aging and age-related disease.
As a memorial to their late father, the distinguished former Professor of Biochemistry, George A. Adrouny, a memorial lectureship was established in 2000 by his children and family to honor his memory. The Department of Biochemistry, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, School of Medicine, is proud to host this annual event.
George A. Adrouny was born of Armenian parents in Turkey on April 2, 1912. He received his B.A. in chemistry in 1934, and a degree in pharmaceutical chemistry in 1940, both from the American University of Beirut. While working as a freelance pharmacist, he also taught chemistry and biology at Aleppo College in Aleppo, Syria. In 1951, a Smith-Mundt Fellowship permitted him to begin graduate studies at Emery University where he earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1954. After two years as a Research Associate in Biochemistry at Emory, he was recruited to the Tulane University School of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry, where he ultimately rose to the rank of full professor.
Dr. Adrouny’s research interests were diverse. His identification and characterization of the fire ant venom was published in 1959 in Science magazine. He also published papers in the areas of cardiac glycogen metabolism, intestinal dextran-hydrolyzing enzymes, biochemical effects of growth hormone and the phylogenic and evolutionary importance of hickory nut and pecan oils.
He headed the Foreign Fellows Program, specifically created for foreign graduate students studying at Tulane. He also was placed in charge of the Medical Biochemistry course, a post that he enjoyed until his retirement in 1981. In recognition of his devotion to the organization and teaching of this course, the Owl Club gave him a certificate of recognition in 1981. He was named Professor Emeritus following his retirement from the Medical School.
Dr. Adrouny was a member of the Society of Sigma Xi, the New York Academy of Sciences, the American Chemical Society and he was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. He was listed in the Who’s Who of American Education in 1967-68.
In 1987, a few years after the death of Alice K. Adrouny, his wife of 38 years, Dr. Adrouny moved to Maryland to be near family where he lived until his death on November 24, 1999.
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