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Noted San Antonio biochemist takes reins of national society

Bettie Sue Siler Masters, Ph.D., the Robert A. Welch Foundation Professor in Chemistry at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, recently assumed duties as president of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB).

Dr. Masters, professor in the Health Science Center's department of biochemistry, was pictured on the cover of ASBMB Today, the monthly publication of the Society. Her presidential message, titled "New Beginnings," addresses the benefits to scientists of joining a professional society.

Dr. Masters noted that the ASBMB has chosen to have a voice in "matters of research integrity, human embryonic stem cell research, somatic cell nuclear transfer versus human cloning, and bioterrorism, to name only a few. This is an activity in which many of our members identify a role for themselves and, even if their involvement is only a letter now and then to members of Congress expressing concern about some issue, they feel a part of a larger goal. The impact of more than 10,000 ASBMB scientists is important." That impact is multiplied as the Society often works in concert with the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), she wrote.

Dr. Masters' research interests have included a class of enzymes involved in the metabolism of therapeutic drugs, cancer-causing agents and hormonal mediators within organs such as the liver, lung and kidney. More recently, her studies have focused on determining the structure and function of the nitric oxide synthases, which produce nitric oxide in various organs, including neurons, macrophages and endothelial cells. For her scientific and societal contributions in the biomedical sciences, she was inducted into the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1996. She has served on the FASEB Board of Directors since 1998 and is serving on the Advisory Committee to the director of the National Institutes of Health until 2004.

Contact: Will Sansom