Around the Quads
Alumni in the News
Bob Lefkowitz ’61, ’66 P&S, the James B. Duke Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry at Duke as well as an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, received the National Medal of Science from President Bush in a ceremony at the White House on September 29. It is the nation’s highest award for science.
Lefkowitz was cited “for his discovery of the seven transmembrane receptors, deemed the largest, most versatile and most therapeutically accessible receptor signaling system, and for describing the general mechanism of their regulation, influencing all fields of medical practice.” Lefkowitz has essentially defined the field of receptor biology through his work with G protein-coupled receptors, the largest and most pervasive family of cell receptors. A thousand or more of these receptors are known to exist through the body, playing critical roles in sight, smell and taste, and in regulating heart rate, blood pressure, pain tolerance, glucose metabolism and virtually all known physiological processes.
For more, go to www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=112155&org=NSF&from=news.
Fernando Perez ’01 was called up to the major leagues on August 31 and helped the Tampa Bay Rays go from worst to first as the team won baseball’s American League East Division title after finishing in last place a year ago. Perez, a switch-hitting outfielder with great speed, appeared in 23 games during the regular season, batting .250 with three home runs and five stolen bases.
Perez was a member of Tampa Bay’s playoff roster and contributed to their winning the American League championship as well. Inserted into Game 2 of their series against the Boston Red Sox as a pinch-runner in the 11th inning, Perez raced home with the winning run on a short sacrifice fly as the Rays posted a 9–8 victory. He is the first Lion on a World Series team roster since Gene Larkin ’84, who drove in the winning run for the Minnesota Twins in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.
Look for a feature on Perez in an upcoming issue of CCT. Meanwhile, for a look at Perez when he was in the minor leagues, go to www.college.columbia.edu/cct_archive/nov05/features3.php.
Anna Paquin ’04 stars as Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress, in the new HBO series True Blood. Based on the novels of Charlaine Harris, the show explores the “what-ifs” when vampires, following the invention of synthetic blood, attempt to enter society as fellow citizens. Paquin, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in The Piano at 11, was nominated for an Emmy in 2007 for her portrayal of Elaine Goodale Eastman in HBO’s original movie Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Also in 2007, Paquin starred in Blue State, a romantic comedy about a disgruntled Democrat. Serving as executive producer, she produced the film with her brother, Andrew, through their company, Paquin Films. According to Greg Braxton of The Los Angeles Times, Paquin’s “new role fits with her desire for complex dramatic characters that swim outside the mainstream.”
Tom Kitt ’96 is the musical director and conductor of 13, the Jason Robert Brown musical with a teenaged cast that opened on Broadway on October 5. Kitt previously brought the novel and film High Fidelity to Broadway in December 2006.
Lou Bender ’32, ’35L, who led Columbia to 1930 and 1931 championships in the forerunner of the Ivy League and achieved All-America recognition, was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame at the New York Athletic Club on September 17. Bender received the nickname “Lulu” after he sank a long two-handed set shot during a high school game and a fan exclaimed, “Now that was a lulu of a basket.”
The 6-foot-1 Bender played professionally in the 1930s for the Original Celtics, one of the great teams of basketball’s barnstorming era, and later for the Union City (N.J.) Reds and Boston Trojans of the American Basketball League, a precursor to the NBA. He finished his career with the independent New York Whirlwinds in 1941 and is now a retired lawyer in Longboat Key, Fla.
For more, go to www.ivyleaguesports.com/article.asp?intID=6748 and the ’25–’39 Class Notes.