Membrane Biophysics

2013 Kenneth S. Cole Award: Fred Sachs

The Membrane Biophysics subgroup is delighted to announce that Fred Sachs has been named the 2013 Kenneth S. Cole Award winner. Sachs joins the 40 past recipients of this prestigious award in the Membrane Biophysics field, who may be found on the Biophysical Society website: ( MembraneBiophysics/PastKennethSColeAwardees/tabid/740/Default.aspx).

Sachs received his Bachelor’s in physics from the University of Rochester and his Doctorate in physiology from the Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, New York. He is currently a Distinguished Professor of Physiology & Biophysics at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Being one of the first scientists to record single channel activity on this side of the Atlantic, in 1983 he discovered mechanosensitive ion channels. Ever since, he has been a leader in the field of mechanotransduction in ion channels. He has innovated by bringing multiple biophysical approaches to the problem of mechanotransduction, including patch clamp, capacity measurements, high resolution light microscopy, real time fluorescence microscopy, high speed digital microscopy, TIRF, digital image analysis, high voltage EM, EM tomography, AFM, molecular biology, natural product and recombinant protein biochemistry, structural NMR, genetically-coded optical probes of stress, and fluid dynamics. His studies have illuminated how mechanotransduction impacts physiology, for example cardiac function and cell volume regulation. His discovery of a specific peptide inhibitor for stretch-activated channels may have important applications as a research and therapeutic tool.

His superb technical innovation has resulted in more than a dozen patents that are held through the University of Buffalo. His vast knowledge base in computers, software, kinetics, signal processing, electronics, and mathematics came together in developing the QUB software to analyze both single-channel and whole cell currents, which has been utilized in over 275 publications since its inception nearly 15 years ago.

Sachs has been an invaluable mentor to those who have trained with him. Last but not least is his extraordinary record of service to the scientific community, especially the Biophysical Society, where he has served on the Editorial Board of the Biophysical Journal, and as a member of the Council and Executive Board of the Society. He is currently a member of the Publications Committee.

Sachs is being honored at the subgroup’s annual dinner on Saturday, February 2.

Diomedes E Logothetis, Chair

February 2013 Table of Contents