Chiu honored at college reception

July 1, 2012

Dr. Wah Chiu with Dr. Michael Schmid and Dr. Bill Brinkley
Dr. Wah Chiu with Dr. Michael Schmid and Dr. Bill Brinkley

A college-wide celebration was held June 21 to honor Dr. Wah Chiu on his election to the National Academy of Sciences.

Chiu is the Alvin Romansky Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and director of the National Center for Macromolecular Imaging at BCM.

Chiu, who is also professor of molecular and cellular biology, molecular physiology and biophysics, and molecular virology and microbiology, was one of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Chiu was lauded in brief remarks by Dr. Salih Wakil, Distinguished Service Professor of Biochemistry at BCM, and BCM president and CEO Dr. Paul Klotman, who also led those in attendance in a toast to Chiu.

His work is focused on the development of the high throughput methodology for electron cryo-microscopy and computational methods to solve 3-dimensional structures of macromolecular machines towards atomic resolution. The biological applications of this methodology include viruses, ion channels, membranes, oligomeric proteins, protein folding machines and cyotskeletal protein complexes. The structures of these complexes, determined with ever improving resolution, are revealing new insights into their functions in human health and disease.

Dr. Bill Butler and Dr. Wah Chiu
Dr. Bill Butler and Dr. Wah Chiu

He thanked his colleagues and research collaborators, along with Wakil and Dr. Bill Butler, former BCM president, who helped recruit him from Arizona almost a quarter-century ago.

Chiu is the seventh BCM faculty member to be named to the Academy. He joins Drs. Arthur Beaudet, chair of molecular and human genetics; Thomas Caskey, professor of molecular and human genetics; Mary Estes, professor of molecular virology and microbiology and medicine; Bert O'Malley, chair of molecular and cellular biology; Salih Wakil, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology; and Huda Zoghbi, professor of molecular and human genetics, pediatrics, neurology and neuroscience and director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children's Hospital.