LINA OBEID AWARDS

The Sphingolipid Club is honored to announce the call for two “LINA OBEID AWARDS” for graduate students recently publishing a paper related to the role of  Sphingosine-1-Phosphate.

One award is sponsorized by the Sphingolipid Club, the second by Dr. Myles Cabot laboratory.

The call is in memory of Lina Obeid, who died last  Nov 29, 2019. Lina Obeid was a great person and a pioneer scientist in the field of Sphingolipid metabolism, and the Sphingolipid Club has decided to honour her great contribution with these Awards.
A short biography of Lina Obeid is attached to this announcement.

Each Award consists of a 1000 € grant that will be offered to the best paper published in the period Jan  1, 2019 – Feb 29, 2020. Moreover, the winner will have free Registration fee at the next Sphingolipid Club Meeting, provided he/she presents an oral talk.

The applicant should fulfill the following criteria:

    • To be the first or co-first author of a paper published in a peer-reviewed journal focused on the topic “Role of Sphingosine-1-Phosphate in Health and Diseases”.
    • To be enrolled in a PhD program at the date of acceptance of the paper.
    • To be a promise for future substantial achievement in research as judged by the PhD supervisor.
    • To be a 2020-21 Member of the Sphingolipid Club. Membership for 2018 can be attained by subscription at the Sphingolipid Club website (www.sphingolipidclub.com) upon the payment of a 40€ fee, before May 31, 2020.

The application material includes:

    • An application form (see attached file), that should include a statement from the PhD supervisor, stating that the applicant, at the time of acceptance of the paper, was enrolled in a PhD program and that the PhD title was not yet obtained.

The application should be submitted to the e-mail address elisabetta.albi@unipg.it by May 31, 2020

Selection of the winner will be done by Members of the Sphingolipid Club Scientific Board and will be notified by June 30, 2020 on the SLC website. Each Member will individually evaluate the fulfilment of the application criteria, and rank the applications using a standardized format that will weigh in the different indicators, including international ranking of the Journal, coherency to the Award topic and scientific quality of the paper. Should the supervisor of the candidate be a Member of the Scientific Board of the Sphingolipid Club, this Member will not take part of the selection committee.

On November 29th we lost Dr. Lina Obeid, Dean of Research at Stony Brook Medicine and SUNY Distinguished Professor of Medicine.

On December 7th many friends and colleagues, together with her family, celebrated Dr.Obeid’s life in Saint James, NY. The numerous people in attendance shared the profound pain for the loss together with the beaming love for her touching, funny, and daring spirit as well as Lina Obeid’s outstanding accomplishments as a world-renown scientist and mentor.
Lina Obeid, a remarkable, triple-threat physician-scientist, was 64 years young, and is survived by her parents, Sami and Rosette, her three brothers, her husband of 36 years, Yusuf Hannun, their three children, Awni, and his spouse Kathy, Reem, and her spouse, Khaled, and Marya, and their most recent pride and joy, their two grandchildren, Evelyn and Baby Yusuf.
Dr. Obeid was born in New York City but grew up in Beirut, Lebanon, the daughter of a prominent surgeon. She returned to the US to receive her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at Rutgers, then received her medical degree from the American University of Beirut, then performing a residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Endocrinology at Duke University.
Dr. Obeid’s research career, for which she is internationally known, was launched in the laboratory of Nobel laureate Dr. Robert Lefkowitz at Duke, during which time she focused on how cells survive or die, particularly cancer cells. After her post-doctoral work at Duke, Dr. Obeid joined the faculty there, eventually rising to Associate Professor, before moving to the Medical University of South Carolina, where she earned the rank of Endowed Professor.
During her early scientific career at Duke, Dr. Obeid published 47 papers. Most notably, the 1983 paper in Science with Yusuf Hannun, her husband and longtime Scientific Partner, where she showed that ceramide induces cell death. It is during this time that she became nationally and internationally recognized. In her lab, she had rotating undergraduate and medical students and three postdocs: Dr Mark Venable, Dr Joanna Lee, and Dr Cungui Mao, who is currently Professor at Stony Brook University.
In 1998, Lina Obeid and Yusuf Hannun moved to the Medical University of South Carolina, in Charleston. Yusuf Hannun became Chair of Biochemistry, Lina Obeid Boyle Professor and Co-Director of the MD/PhD Program.
In Charleston, Dr. Obeid bloomed as a scientist and as a leader in the lipid field. While in Charleston, she obtained 3 R01s and the VA Merit Award from the Department of Defense. She also became the Principal Investigator of the Center of the Biomedical Research Excellence (or COBRE) in Lipidomics and Pathobiology, a multi-million dollars grant used for the recruitment and development of junior faculty. Because Dr. Obeid was able to maintain this funding for three cycles, the Cobre family now comprises of 150+ researchers among faculty, students, and post-docs, making this Program one of the most successful and nationally recognized Cobre of all times.
It is during this time in Charleston that she discovered the mechanism of tumor suppression by p53 which involves inhibition of the sphingosine kinase 1 enzyme. This is a major discovery because targeting sphingosine kinase 1 may lead to novel therapeutic approaches to cancer. This was a bold set of experiments, but Dr.Obeid had a vision and she nailed it.
Her seminal contributions to science were honored this year by receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award, together with Dr. Hannun, from the Eicosanoid Research Foundation. This was the first time that the award was given to two scientists and, importantly, Dr. Obeid was the first woman to receive the award.
In Charleston, Dr. Obeid published 142 research papers and 18 book chapters. Remarkably, during this time she mentored 25 junior faculty, and many students.”
Dr. Obeid simply loved to see young scientists succeed. She was unable to accept “NO” as an answer, always ready to ask new questions and to embrace new challenges. In an interview she said: “a trait of my personality that I am willing to share is my persistence, and my insistent nature. If I believe in something I will pursue it single-mindedly and urge on others to work toward that objective, until it is accomplished “
Dr. Obeid has been a mentor and a friend for her lab members, with her optimism, courage, nurturing encouragement, perseverance and terrific smile.
Lina Obeid and Yusuf Hannun stayed 14 years in Charleston and many of the investigators mentored by Dr. Obeid during that time are now international leaders in their fields. She has been a mentor, a friend and a mother for them. She had a way of making each one feel inspired, supported, protected, loved and appreciated.
In 2012, Lina Obeid and Yusuf Hannun moved to Stony Brook where Dr.Obeid became Dean of Research and Dr.Hannun the Director of the Cancer Center. During the past 8 years, Dr. Obeid has been instrumental in improving and upgrading many facilities and cores. Even when she was not in a position to offer something tangible, she would always offer her time to listen. That is why she was so loved and successful in her administrative role.
In addition to her role as Dean of Research, she maintained an impressive grant funding with 2 R01s (one of which is active since 1998), the VA Merit Award and the Program Project with Dr.Hannun and published 66 papers. She also continued to practice medicine at the Northport VA Hospital. Indeed, we cannot forget that Dr. Obeid was also a motivated and talented physician.
Lina Obeid touched the life of so many people, creating a beacon of positivity around her. She was authentic, pragmatic and unapologetic, deeply loyal and terrifically funny.

Everyone who had the gift to connect with her, will carry within her energy and attitude as a compass and anchor, and will keep celebrating her life.


Contribution:

Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, is Senior Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine, Reinassence School of Medicine, Stony Brook University, NY.

Maurizio Del Poeta, MD, Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stony Brook University, NY

HOW TO PARTECIPATE

1 >

Sign up as a SLC member
(for more info, visit become a member page)

2 >

Download the Application Form and complete it

APPLICATION FORM [ PDF Version ]

3 >

Send a copy of the Application Form to:  elisabetta.albi@unipg.it, to which you can address any query if needed.

PREVIOUS AWARDS

Shimon Gatt Awards

(two supported by the Sphingolipid Club, one supported by Myles Cabot Laboratory):

VALENTINA VOZELLA  (1000 €), University of California Irvine, USA
LIUBOV KALINICHENKO (1000 €), Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany.
MICHAEL PULKOSKI (1000 €), Stanford University, USA

Participation to the 2019 FASEB SRC “The Lysophospholipid and Related Mediators”, Lisbon, Portugal, July 28-August 2, 2019

HIRA NIAZI (best short talk, 500 €), INSERM U970, Paris, France
VALENTINE YOLANDER (best poster, 300 €), Virginia Commonwealth University, USA

2019's award winners