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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 24, 2008

Carver College of Medicine Distinguished Mentor Award, Lecture is Oct. 1

The University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine will present its Distinguished Mentor Award to Arthur Spector, M.D., and host the Distinguished Mentor Lecture by Jeffrey M. Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., beginning at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, in the Dr. Prem Sahai Auditorium of the Medical Education and Research Facility. A reception will follow.

The Distinguished Mentor Award honors a Carver College of Medicine faculty member for outstanding commitment to mentoring and substantial impact on trainees who have established their distinguished careers. The Distinguished Mentor Lecture brings to the UI world-class scientists who embody the ideals of the award and its recipient.

Spector, who joined the UI faculty in 1968, is professor emeritus in the biochemistry and internal medicine departments. For 35 years he taught biochemistry to first-year medical students, which garnered him two "Teacher of the Year" awards from first-year students and the college's J.P. Long Award for Teaching Excellence.

As a scientist, Spector has worked in nearly every major area of lipid and fatty acid research. His research focuses on fatty acids in biological systems, especially the role of polyunsaturated fatty acids in vascular disease and brain cell function. Also widely known for his expertise in cell biology and heart disease, Spector has mentored many in his field through his work and writings. Together, he and his colleagues have published more than 300 research articles, book chapters and editorials.

Spector has been described as optimistic, positive, encouraging and thoughtful, and he serves as a role model for how to educate students in a supportive manner that gives them the confidence to make the most of their opportunities.

Friedman, professor and director of the Starr Center for Human Genetics at Rockefeller University, will discuss "Leptin and the Homeostatic Control on Energy Balance." A Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, Friedman's research focuses on the genetic mechanisms that regulate body weight.

Friedman's worked gained national attention in the mid-1990s when it was announced that he and his colleagues had isolated the gene for obesity in mice. They subsequently found that injections of the protein leptin decreased the body weight of mice by reducing food intake and increasing energy expenditure. Friedman's current research is aimed at understanding the genetic basis of obesity in humans and the mechanisms by which leptin transmits its weight-reducing signal.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Friedman is the recipient of numerous awards for his scientific work, including being featured in Time magazine's "Best of Science" section in 1995 and 1996, and winning Popular Science magazine's "Best of Science" award in 1995.

The Distinguished Mentor Award and Lecture were established and are supported by a gift to the UI Foundation from UI graduates Nancy Granner and Daryl Granner, M.D., of North Liberty, Iowa.

The Granners both received bachelor's degrees at the UI in 1958. Daryl Granner, a Distinguished Alumnus of the UI, also received a Master of Science degree and a medical degree from the UI in 1962. He was a UI College of Medicine faculty member from 1970 to 1984 and directed the endocrinology division from 1975 to 1984. Granner is adjunct professor of molecular physiology and biophysics and of internal medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The UI acknowledges the UI Foundation as the preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university. For more information about the UI Foundation, visit its Web site at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: David Pedersen, 319-335-8032,