LEADING THE WAY
Dr. Kenneth Adler
Kenneth Adler is Professor in the Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. He received his Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the University of Vermont College of Medicine in 1978, and remained at Vermont as a postdoctoral fellow and faculty member in the Department of Pathology until 1987, when he moved to North Carolina State University, where he became Professor in 1992. In 1998, he was named Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor at NCSU. Dr. Adler has published over 120 papers, mostly in the areas of airway inflammation, mucus secretion and cancer. He is an inventor or co-inventor on 51 patents. He has been invited to speak about his research at over 100 different national and international venues. Dr. Adler has been the recipient of continuous long-term research funding from NIH, and in 2004 received a MERIT award from NHLBI. He has served as Chair of the NIH Lung Biology and Pathology and Lung Cellular and Molecular Immunology study sections. In 2013 he was appointed Chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in RTP, NC. He previously was the editor of the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, a member of several editorial boards, and has served as a reviewer for over 120 medical/scientific journals. He has trained over 40 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Dr. Adler has received numerous awards, including an Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association in 1987; the Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal for Excellence (‘the highest award made by the university in recognition of faculty career accomplishments”) from NCSU in 2004, the Oliver Max Gardner Award for Service to Humanity from The University of North Carolina Board of Governors in 2005, and the American Thoracic Society Award for Scientific Achievement in 2006. In 2014, he was he received the Dr. John S. Risley Entrepreneur of the Year Award from NCSU.
I believe you were the first to research the MARCKS protein and its inhibition. Could you describe this research?
I was the first to be able to inhibit the biological function of MARCKS protein. When I started studying MARCKS in the late 1990’s, there were no known ways to inhibit its function, so its role in several biological processes was correlative. My laboratory developed a peptide identical to the N-terminal region of MARCKS protein, as well as a peptide identical to the phosphorylation site domain of MARCKS. It turned out that the peptide identical to the phosphorylation site domain was toxic to cells, but the peptide against the N-terminal domain, a 24 amino acid peptide named the MANS peptide, blocked MARCKS function in a variety of cell types, including airway epithelial cells (mucin secretion) and inflammatory cells (granule release, cytokine production, cell migration). The MANS peptide is the basis for the development of BIO-11006, which contains the active site of MANS. These effects were published in numerous papers from my lab since 2000.