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Johns Hopkins Medicine
Media Relations and Public Affairs
Media Contact: Audrey Huang
July 17, 2006


L. Mario Amzel, Ph.D., has been appointed the new head of the Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry in the Institute of Basic Biomedical Sciences at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“Mario is an extraordinary ambassador for Hopkins science and medical education whose dedication to the institution has been unwavering,” says Edward D. Miller, M.D., dean and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine. “He has done an outstanding job as interim director of this department for the past two years, and is widely recognized as an international leader in his field.”

Amzel joined Hopkins in 1969 for a postdoctoral fellowship and has remained here ever since, rising to full professorial status in 1984.

His early work focused on figuring out the shapes and structures of proteins. Understanding how proteins take on their final shapes can shed light on what they do and how they work in cells. Amzel was the first to solve the structure of part of an antibody, the molecule that helps the human immune system fight off infection. He was also part of a team of researchers at Hopkins who produced the first high-resolution pictures of how antibodies interact with antigens, foreign molecules invading the body.

Since then he has determined the structure of many proteins and protein complexes. Amzel also has studied how proteins fold and take on their 3-dimensional shapes and how proteins catalyze biochemical reactions within cells.

Amzel serves as course director of “Biochemical and Biophysical Principles” and lectures in seven different courses at Hopkins. He was awarded the 1994 Teacher of the Year award from the graduate students at the School of Medicine and the University Alumni Teaching Award in 1999. In addition to teaching, Amzel has served as a member of the Medical Scientist Training Program admission committee, the academic council and the professorial promotions committee. He also serves on the editorial boards of several leading scientific publications.

Amzel earned both his bachelor’s and Ph.D. degrees in physical chemistry at Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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