Alan M Diamond
Professor, Department of Pathology
University of Illinois, USA
Dr. Diamond obtained his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook where he characterized the central component of the cellular machinery that generates selenium-containing proteins. He extended his training to cancer biology as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School. He became an Associate Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Chicago before moving to the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Department of Human Nutrition where he became a Professor and served as Department Head. Dr. Diamond is currently a Professor in the Department of Pathology at UIC focusing his research on the biology of selenium and selenium-containing proteins.
My interest in selenium began when I was a graduate student and characterized the tRNA that serves as both the site of biosynthesis of selenocysteine and the adaptor molecule that inserts that amino acid into the selenium-containing proteins during their translation. As a Post-Doctoral Fellow, I was trained in the molecular biology of cancer. These early experiences have shaped my current focus on the mechanisms by which selenium and the proteins that contain selenium impact a cell’s biology and prevent cancer. We have been working on one particular selenoprotein, glutathione peroxidase (GPx-1) an anti-oxidant enzyme that detoxifies reactive oxygen species. Human epidemiological studies have revealed that there are naturally occurring genetic variations in the GPx-1 that are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. My research is now centered on understanding the molecular consequences of these variations, how they impact cancer risk and the interaction of GPx-1 with other anti-oxidant proteins.