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Science association honors immunologist (6/15/98)

Gabriel Fernandes, PhD, professor of medicine, microbiology and physiology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, was presented the Distinguished Scientist Award recently by the Association of Scientists of Indian Origin in America. He was recognized during the "Experimental Biology '98" meetings in San Francisco. Honorees are selected annually from senior scientists active in various scientific disciplines in the United States.

Dr. Fernandes, originally from India, is a naturalized U.S. citizen. He received his PhD from the University of Bombay in 1979 and joined the Health Science Center faculty in 1981. He is an internationally recognized immunologist who works in the areas of nutrition and immunology, researching the prolongation of life span in animals and the prevention or delay of auto-immune diseases and certain types of cancer by restricting caloric intake.

Currently he is examining the role of Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory agent against cancer and auto-immune renal disease in animal models.

In 1995 Dr. Fernandes and his colleagues reported that calorie restriction inhibits breast cancer formation in transgenic mice by inhibiting oncogene c-erbB-2 and by enhancing tumor suppressor gene p53 and catalase expression. An oncogene is a gene that when overly active contributes to cancer growth. Catalase is an anti-oxidant enzyme.

Dr. Fernandes currently is involved in collaborative studies with his former mentor, Dr. Kamal Ranadive of Bombay, India, who is studying the role of limited calorie intake on breast cancer incidence in tribal populations residing in remote hills of the Indian state of Maharastra (areas four to five hours from Bombay).

Dr. Fernandes holds three grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and serves on the Nutrition Study Section of NIH. He has published 210 scientific papers.

Contact: Will Sansom, (210) 567-2570