The Wayne State University School of Medicine has established the Jena Endowed Distinguished Lecture in Cell Physiology in honor of the pioneering and exemplary scientific and academic contributions of Bhanu Jena, Ph.D., George E. Palade University Professor and Emeritus Professor of physiology.
An editorial in the international journal Pancreatology summarizes Dr. Jena’s impact and contributions.
Established through an anonymous donation, the conference will cover expenses associated with scholarly conferences on topics associated with cell physiology in the Department of Physiology.
Dr. Jena’s passion for medicine began humbly in a small town in India, where he learned from his grandfather, who practiced medicine. “My father and grandfather’s dedication to science and medicine and their service to humanity greatly influenced me in choosing a career in science,” he said.
With the encouragement of his family, Dr. Jena majored in Chemistry, Zoology and Botany at Buxi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar College in Odisha, India. He went on to study Reproductive Endocrinology at Utkal University in Bhubaneswar, India, graduating at the top of his class to receive his MSc with several honors including Utkal University Gold Medal .
Dr. Jena earned his doctorate in reproductive endocrinology from Iowa State University, and after his postdoctoral training there and at Yale University, he joined Yale as an assistant professor. In this role, Dr. Jena discovered the porosome – the universal secretory machinery of the cellular plasma membrane. It has since determined its structure, composition and functional functioning.
Secretion is a fundamental process by which cells communicate with their environment and exchange information in a multicellular context to achieve homeostasis and maintain life. The discovery of the porosome created a paradigm shift in understanding the secretion process in cells.
Cellular secretion is responsible for many activities, including neurotransmission and the release of hormones and digestive enzymes. Secretory defects are responsible for a number of debilitating conditions, including growth defects, diabetes, and neurological disorders. Dr. Jena’s discoveries have opened a doorway for the possible development of future treatments and therapies for these disorders.
In addition to the discovery of the porosome, Dr. Jena has greatly contributed to the understanding of the molecular mechanism and regulation of the water channel or aquaporin, the biogenesis of biological membranes, and their fusion, and to the development of a new platform for Microscopy Differential Expansion Imaging.
In 2000, Dr. Jena’s accomplishments led him to medical school at Wayne State University. He founded and directs the Institute of NanoBioScience, a strong interdisciplinary program focused on nanoscience and nanomedicine. The overall goal of the institute is to prepare US-educated scientists in cutting-edge technologies who can take on the next generation of leadership roles in academia and industry.
Dr. Jena has won numerous awards and honors, including Fellowship of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; foreign member of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences; Foreign Member of Korea Academy of Science and Technology; foreign member of the Romanian National Academy of Medicine; the Swebelius Prize for Cancer Research; the Hallim Distinguished Award lecture, shared with Nobel Laureate Ahmed Zewail; the Sir Aaron Klug Prize; the Basic Biological Sciences Award from the American Society of Animal Science; the Ranbaxy Prize for Basic Research in Medical Sciences; the George E. Palade Gold Medal; the European Union Academy of Sciences; the Academy of Scholars at Wayne State University; six honorary doctorates, including one from Babes-Bolyai University, Romania, shared with Nobel laureates George Palade and Günter Blobel; the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine; and distinguished visiting professors at a number of institutions globally.
“Throughout my career, I have been blessed with the opportunity to learn from excellent teachers and scholars and to work with wonderful students and colleagues,” said Dr. Jena. “I look forward to seeing how this lecture series will make a difference in information sharing and research in cell physiology.”
For more information, contact the School of Medicine’s Office of Development and Alumni Affairs at 313-577-9374 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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