Mark Hochstrasser Has New Post as the Eugene Higgins Professor

Mark Hochstrasser, the newly named Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, is engaged in research at the crossroads of biochemistry and genetics aimed at understanding at a molecular level how specific eukaryotic proteins are rapidly degraded within cells even while most proteins are spared.

Using baker’s yeast as a model eukaryotic system, Hochstrasser and his laboratory team focus specifically on one of the fundamental regulatory systems of eukaryotic cells - the ubiquitin system. Many links are now being found between defects in this pathway and human disease, including many cancers, developmental abnormalities, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and certain forms of mental retardation, he notes.

Hochstrasser is also analyzing the function and dynamics of protein modification by other proteins. One such protein he is studying, called SUMO, is attached to many proteins in vivo and is crucial for cell-cycle progression. He holds two patents related to this work. His research has been published in numerous scholarly and medical journals, including the Journal of Cell Biology, Cell, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature, Genetics and Nature Cell Biology.

Hochstrasser joined the Yale faculty in 2000 after teaching since 1990 at the University of Chicago. At Yale, he is affiliated with the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, and the School of Medicine’s Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program.

Hochstrasser earned his B.A. at Rutgers University and his Ph.D. at the University of California, San Francisco. He conducted postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Yale researcher has earned numerous honors for his scientific contributions, including a Young Investigator Award from the Cancer Research Foundation and designation as a Searle Scholar and a Fletcher Scholar.

Hochstrasser serves on the editorial board/virtual faculty of the Targeted Proteins Database and has been a member of several National Institutes of Health study sections. He is a member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society for Microbiology.

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