The American Association of Anatomists (AAA) recently awarded Thomas Maresca, assistant professor of Biology, the 2013 R.R. Bensley Award in Cell Biology for his “elegant cell biological approaches to the study of spindle assembly and dynamics during mitosis, resulting in important contributions to our understanding of force and signaling at kinetochores.” Maresca will present a lecture titled “Stepping into a Tense Relationship: Mechano-molecular Regulation of Cell Division by Force” at the AAA annual meeting in 2013.
The AAA says its Bensley Award is presented annually for “distinguished contribution to the advancement of anatomy, through discovery, ingenuity, and publications in the field of cell biology.”
Maresca, who joined the faculty in 2010, says, “My research team is focused on how genomic integrity is maintained through cell division. The genomic integrity and health of an organism is at risk of being compromised every time one of its cells divides. This is because errors in chromosome segregation result in aneuploidy, a pathological cellular state in which cells acquire an abnormal chromosome complement that is a hallmark of many cancer cells, the cause of birth defects and a majority of miscarriages in the first trimester. We are particularly interested in characterizing the molecular mechanisms by which cells detect and correct errors during mitosis to avoid aneuploidy.”
He received his doctoral degree in molecular and cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley under supervision of E. D. Salmon, who said Maresca’s “exceptional protein biochemical and molecular biology skills, his extraordinary publication record as a graduate student and his dynamic, engaging and readily understood lectures” indicate that he is capable of great discoveries in biomedical science and is headed for an outstanding scientific career in cell biology.
Among his other honors, Maresca was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 2000 and received an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellowship in 2007.
The American Association of Anatomists is based in Bethesda, Md., and was founded in 1888 for the advancement of anatomical science. Today, AAA is the professional home for biomedical researchers and educators focusing on anatomical form and function. AAA publishes three journals, The Anatomical Record, Anatomical Sciences Education and Developmental Dynamics, plus a quarterly newsletter.