Reflected Glow

Reflected Glow

BC biologist is protege of recent Nobel Prize winner

For Asst. Prof. Junona Moroianu (Biology), last week's news that Gunter Blobel had won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was met with more than professional interest. Moroianu worked with Blobel in his laboratory for three years during her doctorate and post-doctorate training.

"Gunter is one of the brilliant biologists of the century and I was very fortunate to work in his lab," said Moroianu, who paid a congratulatory visit to her mentor at Rockefeller University shortly after the award was announced.

Blobel, Moroianu said, revolutionized the study of cell biology when he hypothesized and proved that proteins have intrinsic signals that guide them from their formation in a cell's cytoplasm to a specific destination within the cell. Her own work in an off-shoot of Blobel's.

Moroianu is working under an American Cancer Society grant to determine how macromolecules of human papillomaviruses, which are strongly associated with cervical cancer, enter and exit the nuclei of human cells.

Moroianu said she was drawn to BC by the opportunity to design her own lab in the renovated Higgins Hall and the sense of community at BC. "You feel like science matters here," she said, "that this is a good place to do good science."

Assoc. Prof. William Petri, the department chairman, said Blobel praised Moroianu as one of his finest students in an "incredible" letter of recommendation when she was hired. Her decision to come to BC bodes well for the department's future, he added.

"It speaks to the quality of our hiring," Petri added. "Someone who comes out of a lab of that quality is able to get a job at an awful lot of places."

-Michael Seele

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