Commencement


Amy Claire Rosenzweig ’88 gives a slide lecture
in Cole Assembly Room, May 22, 2005.

Hear audio of Rosenzweig's talk

Photo by Frank Ward

2005 Honorary Degree Recipients

Amy Claire Rosenzweig ’88
Doctor of Science

A 1988 graduate of Amherst, biochemist Amy Claire Rosenzweig has already demonstrated precocious talent as a researcher, scholar and teacher. Her research into metal delivery proteins has provided important clues about how chaperone proteins deliver metal cofactors to specific protein targets, and may one day lead to new treatments for a variety of illnesses.

An associate professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology at Northwestern University, where she also has a joint appointment in chemistry, Rosenzweig is working to reveal the structural mechanisms for the metabolism of metals in living cells. Her research, which uses X-ray crystallography to determine three-dimensional structures, focuses on how essential yet toxic metal ions are handled in cells and how metalloenzymes catalyze complex and difficult chemical transformations. Metals such as copper, iron and zinc play critical roles in much enzyme activity, but can be toxic if they accumulate out of control.  Aberrant metal metabolism has been identified as the critical factor in such diseases as Menkes syndrome, Wilson's disease and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Rosenzweig’s work has been recognized with a number of awards; She is the recipient of a Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, and in 2003 she was honored with a MacArthur “genius” grant. But in the best Amherst tradition, her talent is not limited to research: In 2001 she received the Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award, designed to support the teaching and research careers of young faculty with promise as both researchers and teachers. Amherst College honored Rosenzweig with the 1995 Pryde Award, given to a graduate who has distinguished herself in research. In conjunction with the award, Rosenzweig returned to the college to lecture.

Patricia O’Hara, The Thalheimer Professor of Chemistry at Amherst, says of Rosenzweig, “She has the brains and knows how to get things done.”

One of the founders of the women’s ice hockey team at Amherst, Rosenzweig received her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994. She was a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School from 1994 until 1997.

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