Area: Molecular & Human Genetics
Dr. Bellen received the award most recently due to his transformative observations linking metabolic alterations in mitochondrial function to a host of neurodegenerative diseases. He uses Drosophila as a model system to explore the functions of the nervous system. In so doing, he has developed state of the art technologies to empower the drosophila genetics community. At the same time, he has made seminal observations in neurodevelopment mechanisms including synaptic transmission and Notch signaling. Importantly, he has performed genetic screens in drosophila that have now empowered translational research in combination with human genetic gene discovery.
Dr. Bellen's nomination was based on the following publications:
Yamamoto S, Jaiswal M, Charng WL, Gambin T, Karaca E, Mirzaa G, Wiszniewski W, Sandoval H, Haelterman NA, Xiong B, Zhang K, Bayat V, David G, Li T, Chen K, Gala U, Harel T, Pehlivan D, Penney S, Vissers LE, de Ligt J, Jhangiani SN, Xie Y, Tsang SH, Parman Y, Sivaci M, Battaloglu E, Muzny D, Wan YW, Liu Z, Lin-Moore AT, Clark RD, Curry CJ, Link N, Schulze KL, Boerwinkle E, Dobyns WB, Allikmets R, Gibbs RA, Chen R, Lupski JR, Wangler MF, Bellen HJ. A drosophila genetic resource of mutants to study mechanisms underlying human genetic diseases. Cell. 2014 Sep 25;159(1):200-14. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.09.002.
Nagarkar-Jaiswal S, Lee PT, Campbell ME, Chen K, Anguiano-Zarate S, Gutierrez MC, Busby T, Lin WW, He Y, Schulze KL, Booth BW, Evans-Holm M, Venken KJ, Levis RW, Spradling AC, Hoskins RA, Bellen HJ. A library of MiMICs allows tagging of genes and reversible, spatial and temporal knockdown of proteins in Drosophila. Elife. 2015 Mar 31;4. doi: 10.7554/eLife.05338.
Liu L, Zhang K, Sandoval H, Yamamoto S, Jaiswal M, Sanz E, Li Z, Hui J, Graham BH, Quintana A, Bellen HJ. Glial lipid droplets and ROS induced by mitochondrial defects promote neurodegeneration. Cell. 2015 Jan 15;160(1-2):177-90. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.12.019. PubMed PMID: 25594180; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4377295.