|Matthew Picklo earns international award|
Matthew Picklo, a scientist at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences neuroscience lab, has been awarded the prestigious international Esterbauer Award for 2008 for his research into the damage caused by free radicals in the body. The award, given to one researcher worldwide every two years, will be presented to Picklo at an international meeting in Nagano, Japan, this fall.
"I was very surprised that I got this award, but also very pleased," says Picklo, associate professor in the medical school's Department of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Therapeutics and adjunct professor in the Department of Chemistry. Picklo has been invited to present his work at the fall meeting in Japan.
Picklo studies oxidative damage to lipids, caused by what commonly are known as "free radicals." These free radicals, products of normal, everyday living, accumulate with age. Usually, the body disposes of these free radicals, but this requires the presence of antioxidants (found in popular nutritional supplements, such as vitamin E, vitamin C, and omega-three fish oil).
"Oxidative (or free radical) damage is a toxic hallmark of multiple diseases including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and atherosclerosis," notes Picklo.
"My laboratory studies how the brain gets rid of these toxins" produced by the action of free radicals in the body, he explains.
"By understanding these pathways, we can develop potential therapeutic strategies," he says. "My work involves several techniques, many of which I and my team had to develop ourselves," including liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. Chromatography is a general term for a family of lab techniques used to separate and analyze mixtures. Mass spectrometry is a powerful analytical technique used to precisely identify the chemical composition of compounds.
The Esterbauer Award is given by the Vienna, Austria-based International HNE-Club, an informal group of researchers with wide interests spanning all aspects of lipid oxidation and other types of oxidation. The International HNE-Club is a Group of Interest within the International Society for Free Radical Research.
The award is named after noted biochemical researcher Hermann Esterbauer, who spent his career at the University of Graz, Austria, studying lipid oxidation chemistry. He headed the school's analytical biochemistry department and, subsequently, was chair of the Institute of Biochemistry. Awardees are nominated by their peers around the world for significant contributions to the study of lipid oxidation.
"I am extremely pleased to see Dr. Picklo's research efforts and dedicated work being recognized internationally," says Jonathan Geiger, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Therapeutics. "The Hermann Esterbauer Award recognizes officially the important contributions that Dr. Picklo and members of his laboratory have made to the field of aldehyde biochemistry and free radical damage."