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Duke's York Named HHMI Investigator

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Duke Health News 919-660-1306

DURHAM, N.C. -- John York, an assistant professor of pharmacology and cancer biology at Duke University Medical Center, is among 48 scientists selected in a national competition as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

York joins 10 other Duke University scientists who are now HHMI investigators, with their research supported by the institute.

"These new investigators are an incredibly talented group who have begun to make their mark on biomedical research," said HHMI President Thomas Cech in making the announcement May 8. "We were looking for researchers who explore big questions and take risks - people with that special quality that leads to scientific breakthroughs and medical advances."

York's research concentrates on a mysterious signaling molecule known as inositol, which is critical to the machinery of living cells. Many of the components of inositol signaling are conserved all the way from yeast to humans. Errors in inositol signaling have been proposed to play a role in neurological and immune system diseases, including oculocerebrorenal syndrome (Lowe syndrome), ataxia telangiectasia, severe combined immune disorder, retinal degeneration and manic depression.

In addition to his studies of inositol, York and his colleagues are exploring the pharmacologic targets of lithium in treating manic depression.

York earned his B.S. in biochemistry from the University of Iowa and his Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology and biochemistry from Washington University in St. Louis. His honors include being named a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences and a Whitehead Scholar at Duke.

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