Dr. Robert Moritz, Director of the Seattle Proteome Center, joined the ISB
faculty in late 2008 as Associate Professor and Director of Proteomics.
Dr. Moritz began his work in 1983 in the Joint Protein Structure laboratory
of Prof. Richard J. Simpson (JPSL-Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, and
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia).
During his 25 years at JPSL, Dr. Moritz designed and implemented a number of
technologies currently used in many proteomics laboratories across the globe.
Examples include technologies such as the development of micro-chromatography
for proteomics from the late 1980's to its current day implementation, a
micro-fractionation technique widely used by many laboratories worldwide. His
collaborative research into cytokine biochemistry, protein-receptor chemistry
and cellular biochemistry culminated in the novel identification of a number
of proteins (e.g., IL-6, IL-9 A33 ligand, DIABLO, as well as several others),
their interacting partners, and 3-dimensional structures of their cell surface
receptors important in human health concerns such as cancer and inflammation.
During his time at JPSL, Dr. Moritz progressed through the ranks whilst obtaining
his Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry with first-class Honors, and his Ph.D.,
from the University of Melbourne.
Dr. Moritz has brought wide-ranging skills and expertise to ISB, much of it drawn
from his Australian experience. There, in 2005, he conceptualized a shared proteomics
high-performance computing system, organized a consortia of proteomic scientists
from all states in Australia, and proposed a computational system specifically for
proteomics data analysis for all Australian researchers to access. For this work,
in 2006, he was awarded an enabling grant from the Australian National Health and
Medical Research Council worth AUS$2M. With that award, he established a bioinformatics
center in Australia that enabled proteomic researchers anywhere in the country to
analyze mass spectrometry data. It was the first effort on a national scale to bring
proteomic data analysis and algorithms to any researcher in the whole country without
the need for them to build their own bioinformatics group. In late 2006, the Australian
Proteomics Computational Facility (APCF, www.apcf.edu.au) was inaugurated, and Dr. Moritz
remains as Director of the APCF. The dedicated proteomics data analysis facility is
equipped with a 1000 CPU high-performance computing cluster, and full-time software
engineers for the continued development of proteomics algorithms and data validation.
This facility serves all researchers in Australia and others regardless of their global
geographical location. He is continuing that work at ISB by expanding the ISB proteomics
center into a national facility with online tools for data analysis.
Scientific Advisory Board
For oversight and management of the SPC, the following have agreed to be
part of the scientific advisory committee (SAC): Robert Moritz, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, ISB),
Ruedi Aebersold, Ph.D. (ETH, Zurich), Alan Aderem, Ph.D. (Founder and Director of ISB), Jeffrey
Ranish, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor, ISB), John Aitchison, Ph.D. (Professor and Associate
Director, ISB) as well as the external member Michael Rout, Ph.D. (Professor, Rockefeller University).
The SAC meet twice a year in Seattle. The committee will be responsible for ensuring that
1) the SPC is maintained in state-of-the-art condition, 2) the instrumentation is focused on
development in areas of biochemical research; and 3) the scientific community is aware
(in part via ISB communications) of the instrumentation and its capabilities.
In consultation with the Advisory Committee, the Center is governed by the
Executive Committee, which will administer all operational aspects of the
SPC, including all major scientific (phase-in, phase-out of projects, new
directions), fiscal (resource allocation, subcontracts, salary review of
Center personnel) and strategic (industrial relations, commercialization of
Center IP, IP management, release of data) decisions. Initially, Ruedi
Aebersold will constitute the Executive
Ruedi Aebersold is a founding member of the
Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, Washington, where he leads a
research effort that is focused on developing new methods and technologies
for understanding the structure, function, and control of complex biological
systems. He completed his undergraduate studies in biology at the University
of Basel, Switzerland in 1979 and received a Ph.D. in cell biology at the
University of Basel in 1984. Holding fellowships from the Swiss National
Science Foundation and EMBO he joined the California Institute of Technology
as a postdoctoral fellow (1984-86) and remained at Caltech as a senior
research fellow (1986-88). In 1988 he joined the University of British
Columbia in Vancouver as an assistant professor in the Department of
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and as a senior investigator at the
Biomedical Research Centre. In 1993, he moved to the University of
Washington as an Associate Professor in Molecular Biotechnology and was
promoted to full Professor in 1998. In 2000, he left the University of
Washington and joined the Institute for Systems Biology as co-founder and
full faculty member.
Dr. Aebersold's research and teaching have been recognized by the Killam
Research Prize, the Pehr Edman Award, the Widmer Award, the Biemann Medal,
and the World Technology Network Award for Biotechnology. Dr. Aebersold is a
consulting editor for the journal Physiological Genomics, has been a
member of the Editorial Advisory Boards of Protein Science (1992-98),
Functional Proteomics (1999-present), Analytical Biochemistry
(1991-2001), Functional and Integrative Genomics (1999-present),
Electrophoresis (1989-1993) and an associate editor for Molecular
and Cellular Proteomics.
Dr. Alan Aderem, ISB cofounder and Director, is an internationally recognized immunologist and cell biologist who plays a central role in defining the scientific direction of the Institute and is responsible for overseeing the integration of the wide variety of disciplines within the organization. Aderem also leads a scientific team investigating the roles of the immune system in health and disease.
Dr. Aderem and his team of researchers focus on the innate immune system--the system responsible for the body's defense in the first hours of an encounter with a potential pathogen. The innate immune system also initiates local and sometimes systemic inflammatory responses that alert the body to the presence of potential threats and guides the development of subsequent adaptive immune responses that evolve in the weeks following infection. An uncontrolled inflammatory response can also lead to autoimmunity and atherosclerosis, diseases also being studied by Dr. Aderem's team.
Dr. Aderem conducted his early studies of the immune system at The Rockefeller University in New York, where he served as head of the Laboratory of Signal Transduction. During this time, he combined his early research in cell biology with immunology to describe the way cells communicate with one another. He began a series of studies investigating the function of macrophages--white blood cells that have a critical role in the host response to infection. Macrophages are also implicated in atherosclerosis, cancer, and autoimmune disease. Aderem has made seminal contributions to the understanding of the communication networks within the cells that lead to the internalization and killing of pathogens, and the coordination of the ensuing inflammatory response.
In 1996, Dr. Aderem moved to Seattle where he held appointments in the Departments of Immunology and Medicine at the University of Washington. In 2000, Dr. Aderem co- founded the Institute for Systems Biology with Drs. Leroy Hood and Ruedi Aebersold. The interdisciplinary environment within the Institute for Systems Biology allows Dr. Aderem to use the information encoded within the human genome to define the highly complex regulatory networks upon which the immune response is predicated. His long term goals are to develop new approaches to predictive and preventive medicine by improving methods of vaccine development and drugs to combat infectious diseases.
Dr. Aderem's awards and honors include a MERIT Award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a Pew Scholars award, and awards from the Burroughs Welcome Fund and the American Heart Association. Dr. Aderem has organized a number of scientific meetings, and serves on the Advisory committees of several Foundations and companies.
Internationally, he was appointed Chair of the Parliamentary Review Commission of the Medical Research Council of South Africa in 2001 and 1996, and is currently a science advisor to the South African government. Dr. Aderem´s long-term interests include diseases afflicting citizens of developing countries, including AIDS and tuberculosis. He serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative; the Science Steering Committee of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise; the International Advisory Board of the Management Committee of the Centre for Integrative Systems Biology at Imperial College, London; and as an Advisory Board Member of the International Immunology Frontier Research Center, Osaka University.
Dr. Aitchison is Professor and Associate Director at ISB and a founding member of the ISB faculty. As a student, he studied biochemistry, specializing in biotechnology and genetic engineering, at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. There, in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Rachubinski, he investigated the molecular mechanisms responsible for sorting proteins into peroxisomes. After receiving his Ph.D., Dr. Aitchison performed his postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Dr. Günter Blobel at Rockefeller University. In Dr. Blobel's lab, Dr. Aitchison applied classic cell biology techniques and yeast genetics to the study of protein import into the nucleus. During this time, he began to apply large-scale proteomics to the problem, which he continued as an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta until joining the ISB in 2000. Dr. Aitchison also holds affiliate appointments at the University of Washington, University of Alberta, and University of British Columbia. He is a member of the Molecular and Cellular Biology and Biomolecular Structural Design Graduate Programs at the University of Washington.
Dr. Aitchison merges the traditional fields of cell biology and biochemistry with new high-throughput technologies and computational biology to bring about an understanding of how the three-dimensional architecture of cells imparts control over cellular function. Within this broad context, he is focusing two related areas of research.
Peroxisomes are highly dynamic cellular organelles that play diverse metabolic roles and are consequently linked to numerous human diseases. They respond dramatically by proliferation in response to a variety of extracellular cues including fatty acids. The Aitchison lab studies peroxisome biogenesis in this context. As all cellular dynamics are inextricably linked to the nucleus, the Aitchison lab also studies macromolecular transport between the nucleus and cytoplasm, focusing on how access to the nucleus is controlled and how spatial organization of the nucleus, imparted by nuclear pore complexes, coordinates nuclear activities.
Aitchison's work is devoted to using functional genomics, proteomics, and genetics to achieve a thorough understanding of the regulation of nuclear function and peroxisome development. The comprehensive understanding of these processes provide insight into the fundamental biology nuclear function and in particular, peroxisome biogenesis and disease processes associated with peroxisomes.
Dr. Jeff Ranish is an Assistant professor at the ISB. He is also an affiliate faculty member of the Biochemistry Department at the University of Washington. Dr. Ranish accepts graduate students from the University of Washington for thesis work in his laboratory.
Dr. Ranish's formal training is in biochemistry and molecular biology. He did his undergraduate work in biochemistry at Cornell University, and earned his Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Washington. During his doctoral dissertation, Dr. Ranish studied the molecular mechanism of transcription initiation by RNA polymerase II in the laboratory of Dr. Steven Hahn at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Using the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, he applied biochemical, molecular biology, and molecular genetics approaches to address this problem. Dr. Ranish's studies culminated in the identification and cloning of the genes encoding the general transcription factor TFIIA, and the development of an immobilized promoter system for isolating and studying transcription complexes. He used this system to define intermediates in the formation of preinitiation complexes, and to define the reinitiation complex. For his postdoctoral training, Dr. Ranish worked with Dr. John Yates, III and Dr. Ruedi Aebersold in the Molecular Biotechnology department at the University of Washington where he developed his skills in mass spectrometry based-proteomic technologies. Dr. Ranish joined Dr. Aebersold when he left the University of Washington to found the ISB in 2000.
During his tenure in Dr. Aebersold's lab, Dr. Ranish developed a new strategy for studying macromolecular complexes by quantitative mass spectrometry. The strategy can be used to determine the composition of complexes and to detect changes in complex composition. It is based on the use of stable isotope tagging of proteins and mass spectrometry to compare the relative abundances of tryptic peptides derived from suitable pairs of purified or partially purified protein complexes. Application of the technology to study transcription factor complexes from yeast and higher eukaryotes has resulted in the discovery of new transcription factors with roles in human health, and has revealed mechanisms for how genes are regulated during development. The usefulness of the approach is apparent from the extensive local, national, and international collaborations that Dr Ranish engages in.