December 7, 2006
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UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School Department Chair Receives
Dr. Carol Newlon of Dept. of Microbiology, Molecular Genetics
Becomes AAAS Fellow
NEWARK— Dr. Carol Newlon, chair of the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School’s Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, has been named a Fellow of the prestigious scientific group the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She will formally receive her Fellow award, symbolized by a blue and gold rosette pin, February 17th in San Francisco during the AAAS’ annual meeting.
The AAAS is the one of the oldest scientific associations in the United States, having been founded in 1848, and is the publisher of the monthly peer-reviewed journal Science. Newlon, of Berkeley Heights, is the first NJMS faculty member to receive an AAAS Fellow award.
The Fellow award is given to those whose "efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished." The award is decided by a rigorous process of peer review among current AAAS Fellows. Three current Fellows - only one of whom may be professionally affiliated with the candidate - must nominate a Fellow candidate; and the nomination must be approved by the majority of the AAAS Steering Group, or committee, governing the candidate’s research specialization. Only about 400 scientists worldwide each year receive the AAAS Fellow award.
Dr. Newlon, who came to NJMS in 1985, has received NIH grants during her tenure here to research the DNA structure of yeast. "It's the same yeast that you use for baking, wine and beer," she noted. Even though yeast DNA chromosomes are 1000 times smaller than those in mammalian (including human) DNA, they turn out to provide an excellent model for DNA structure in higher-functioning beings. Dr. Newlon ’s research contributed to the beginning of the Human Genome Project by providing clones for sequencing yeast chromosome III.
More recently, Dr. Newlon and her research group have been researching the replication of yeast DNA - and have found that yeast DNA can replicate even when the origin structure that allows such replication has been altered. "We found, to our surprise, there is a lot of redundancy in replication origins," she said. This may have implications for all multi-cell life forms - including, potentially, humans.
Dr. Newlon said she is humble in accepting the Fellow award, crediting the "team effort" of the group she leads. "I've worked with so many great colleagues," she said.
UMDNJ is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,500 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Last year, there were more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.