Profiles of Leading Women Scientists on AcademiaNet.
Search among the members of the Leopoldina for experts in specific fields or research topics.
Image: Uwe Dettmar
|Year of election:||2010|
|Section:||Biochemistry and Biophysics|
Ivan Dikic is widely recognized for seminal scientific contributions to biochemistry, molecular biology and cancer research. Dikic and his colleagues at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Uppsala, Sweden have made the critical discoveries to our understanding of receptor endocytosis, which include the identification of endocytic adaptor proteins CIN85 and multiple monoubiquitination as dual signals that control the fidelity and kinetics of receptor downregulation. This observation has turned out to be profoundly important for understanding of the action of some current cancer therapeutics.
Dikic has pursued his interest in understanding the role of Ubiquitin, a small protein modifier used for posttranslational covalent modification of thousands of cellular proteins, and has pioneered the idea that Ubiquitin plays a general role as a signalling messenger in the cells.
After moving to Frankfurt in 2002, where he is currently Professor and Director of the Institute of Biochemistry and Scientific Director of the FMLS (Frankfurt Institute for Molecular Life Sciences), Dikic has established a multidisciplinary platform to study the structural and functional importance of Ubiquitin signaling in the cells. Ubiquitin signals are recognized and processed in the cell by virtue of specialized Ubiquitin-binding domains (UBDs), many of which were identified and characterized in his laboratory.
In a beautiful series of studies he has shown that distinct and specific Ubiquitin pathways control cellular processes, such as DNA repair, proteasomal degradation, receptor-mediated endocytosis, immune responses and most recently autophagy-based clearance of protein aggregates and damaged mitochondria, and identified the relevance of these proteins and pathways to cancer.