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Justin Marinko receives Karpay Award

Posted by on Monday, October 28, 2019 in News.

Congratulations to Justin Marinko for being named the 2020 recipient of The Karpay Award in Structural Biology. “I am deeply honored to win the Karpay award,” Justin said.

Justin joined the Sanders Lab in 2016 focusing his research on structural biology and protein folding from a cellular perspective, particularly how the cell is able to recognize and process misfolded proteins from folded proteins. He studies the tetraspan integral membrane protein PMP22. He has shown that PMP22 is able to modulate membrane ultrastructure and is currently describing features that drive its partitioning into ordered membrane phases. His research has led to numerous collaborations with talented faculty including, Dr. Mel Ohi, Dr. Bruce Carter, Dr. Anne Kenworthy and Dr. Lars Plate.

Justin began his scientific journey at Boston University graduating in 2014. While there he performed X-ray crystallography on hot-dog fold thioesterases in the lab of Dr. Karen Allen. He also worked as a research scientist doing biochemical screening at Celgene in Cambridge, MA, before coming to Vanderbilt.

Outside the lab, Justin enjoys going to concerts and music festivals, hanging out with friends, reading, cooking and playing guitar. His favorite morning activity is playing pickup basketball with Dr. Walter Chazin and others at the Vanderbilt Rec Center before work!

The Karpay Award was established in 2010 to honor the memory of Dr. Anne Karpay, who died after a four-year battle with breast cancer. It recognizes one senior graduate student who is a well-rounded colleague and scientist, who is collaborative and collegial and who has performed exceptional research in the field of structural biology. Dr. Karpay exemplified each characteristic and demonstrated a passion for science, for friendship and for life.

“I want to emphasize that this is not an individual effort,” said Justin, “I would not have been able to win this award without the support and guidance I’ve received from the CSB and Vanderbilt scientific communities as well as the Sanders Lab, principally my mentor Chuck Sanders.”

Although Justin’s PhD project is different than what is classically studied in the Sanders Lab, he gives credit to Dr. Sanders for allowing him to take his project in different directions. “I would not be 1/1000th of the scientist, or person, I am today without Chuck’s mentorship.”

Justin presents “There and Back Again: A Protein’s Tale” on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, in 1220 MRB3 as part of the MBTP/CSB Seminar Series. The seminar begins at 12:20pm with a reception and award presentation to follow.

The Karpay Award is funded entirely by donations to an endowment managed through the Development Office of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Donate to the fund through the Giving to Vanderbilt website with a credit/debit card or via payroll deduction.

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