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Dolph L. Hatfield, Ph.D.

Selected Links

•  Dolph Hatfield elected AAAS Fellow - November, 10, 2011. Elected to the rank of AAAS Fellow "for distinguished contributions to (the) translation and selenium fields, especially expanding the genetic code and determining the biosynthetic pathway of selenocysteine in eukaryotes." (See page 5 of NIH Record at link)

Also see article in SCIENCE VOL 334 23 DECEMBER 2011
•  Selenium: Its Molecular Biology and Role in Human Health (2011) - 3rd Edition of "Selenium: Its Molecular Biology and Role in Human Health" (Springer, 2011)

Hatfield, Dolph L.; Berry, Marla J.; Gladyshev, Vadim N. (Eds.)

The selenium field has grown dramatically in the years since the first edition of Selenium: Its Molecular Biology and Role in Human Health was published in 2001. All aspects of selenium biology have advanced with many new approaches and insights into the biochemical, molecular, genetic, and health areas of this intriguing element. The third edition of Selenium: Its Molecular Biology and Role in Human Health brings readers up to date and informs them of the present knowledge of the molecular biology of selenium, its incorporation into proteins as selenocysteine, and the role that this element and selenium-containing proteins (selenoproteins) play in health and development.

The current edition will be an important resource for scientists and investigators in the selenium field, students, and physicians who wish to learn more about this fascinating micronutrient.
Available: October 31, 2011
•  Essential Selenium - An "Editor's Pick" in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology (130:2, 2010) discussing our mouse model study on the removal of Trsp in skin (PLoS ONE 5:e12249, 2010).

"The results of this study revealed an essential protective role for selenium in the skin and provided evidence that deficiencies in selenoproteins result in the abnormalities observed in selenium-deficient human skin. Taken together, these findings highlight the importance of selenoproteins in cutaneous function and development."
•  Genetic Code Sees Double - ScienceNOW article highlighting our paper in Science (Science 323: 259-261, 2009) on the targeted insertion of two amino acids by one codon.

"At the very least, the find may necessitate a rewrite of science textbooks. It's sort of like a warning shot not to get too comfortable with what we think is going on."
Dr. Jamie Cate, University of California, Berkeley
•  Dolph Hatfield wins 2007 Klaus Schwarz Award - Since 1979 the Klaus Schwarz Medal is awarded to leading trace element researchers.
Dolph Hatfield, National Cancer Institute, was awarded commemorative medal "in recognition for his contributions to the understanding of selenoprotein biochemistry and genetics".
•  Selenocysteine Biosynthetic Pathway Discovered - A Chemical Chemical and Engineering News "highlight" (Chem. Engineer. News: Science and Tech. 85: 22, 2007) of our PLoS Biology article (PLoS Biology 5: e4, 2007) on the biosynthesis of selenocysteine.

"Dolph L. Hatfield of the National Cancer Institute and his coworkers have now discovered the previously unknown selenocysteine biosynthetic pathway. They used comparative genomics studies to identify proteins that occur only in organisms that use selenocysteine."
•  Searching for SecS - An American Chemical Society, Chemical Biology Spotlight article (ACS Chem. Biol. 2: 87, 2007) discussing our PLoS Biology article (PLoS Biology 5: e4, 2007) on the biosynthesis of selenocysteine.

"Overall, this study determined the selenocysteine biosynthetic pathway with a clever medley of new genomics techniques and classical biochemistry." Jason G. Underwood, Ph.D. (see page 87)
•  Selenocysteine and Autoimmune Hepatitis? - A Hepatology article (Hepatology 46(1):275-277, 2007) describing the relevance of our PLoS Biology article (PLoS Biology 5: e4, 2007) on selenocysteine biosynthesis to autoimmune hepatitis (AIH).

"How then might the synthesis of selenocysteine be related to AIH? This crucial question remains open, but the aforementioned data will open new avenues of investigation...Maybe the identification of the biochemical function of the SLA/LP enzyme will offer new perspectives for antigen-specific immunotherapy of this often serious chronic disease."
•  Easing Selenocysteine into Proteins - A Nature Structural & Molecular Biology article (Nature Struct. Mol. Biol. 14: 100-101, 2007) discussing our PLoS Biology article (PLoS Biology 5: e4, 2007) on the biosynthesis of selenocysteine.

"According to the current understanding of protein translation, Sec is the only example of an amino acid that is always generated on its tRNA, and now we know how it gets there."
•  Dolph Hatfield wins NCI Mentor of Merit Award - 2006 National Cancer Institute Mentor of Merit Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Guiding the Careers of Trainees in Cancer Research was awarded to Dolph Hatfield.

Also see:

•  Dolph Hatfield awarded NIH Graduate School Student Community Outstanding Mentor Award - 2006 National Institutes of Health Graduate School Student Community Outstanding Mentor Award was awarded to Dolph Hatfield.
•  A Forgotten Debate: Is Selenocysteine the 21st Amino Acid? - An article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI 96(7): 504-505, 2004) on the debate over whether selenocysteine is the 21st amino acid.

Quotes taken from this article (not in the order given):

"I've never been challenged about calling selenocysteine the 21st amino acid," said Hatfield, a point that other selenium researchers reiterate.

"There's no mystery why nature has gone to so much effort to get selenium into protein," said Dolph Hatfield, Ph.D., a scientist at the National Cancer Institute and one of the pioneers of modern selenium research. "Selenium is such a good donor of hydrogen ions, and it is completely ionized at [normal blood pH levels]. Sulfur is typically the main atom involved in redox reactions [to control destructive oxygen free radicals], but selenium is so much better at it. So, it seems nature has gone to all of this trouble to incorporate it."

"Then you ask, 'If nature has gone to all this trouble, why don't all organisms do it?'" continued Hatfield. "That's really the big mystery."
•  On the Road to Selenocysteine - A PNAS commentary on our article (Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 101:12848-53, 2004) in which we identified and characterized phosphoseryl-tRNA[Ser]Sec kinase (PSTK).

"In a recent issue of PNAS, Carlson et al. employed a clever comparative genomics approach to identify a kinase that is most likely dedicated to Sec synthesis, providing the missing link in the route from serine to Sec in eukaryotes and archaea, as well as adding a new player to the translation 'team' whose sole purpose is to produce selenoproteins."

This page was last updated on 3/27/2012.