Vann Bennett

Vann Bennett

Vann Bennett was born April 21, 1948 in Morganton, North Carolina. He graduated from Stanford University (Phi Beta Kappa, in biological and chemical studies) in 1970. He earned his Ph.D for work on the mechanism of action of cholera toxin with Pedro Cuatrecasas in 1974, and his M.D. in 1976 from the Johns Hopkins Medical School. He completed postdoctoral training with Daniel Branton, at the Biological Laboratories, Harvard University, where he developed an assay for measuring reconstitution of spectrin with membrane sites. He was a Staff scientist at Burroughs Wellcome, 1977-1980, where he discovered ankyrin and its role in coupling the anion exchanger to the spectrin-based membrane skeleton. He was appointed Assistant professor, 1981-1983; Associate professor, 1983-1987; and Professor 1987 in the Department of Cell Biology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. During this time he biochemically characterized spectrin and ankyrin for the first time from non-erythroid tissues, discovered with Peter Agre that spectrin deficiency is a common feature of hereditary spherocytosis, and discovered adducin and its role in recruiting spectrin to actin. He was appointed Professor of Biochemistry at Duke University Medical Center and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 1987, and now holds joint appointments in the Departments of Cell Biology and Neurobiology. While at Duke, he has cloned and characterized erythrocyte ankyrin, beta-2 spectrin, and adducin subunits, discovered ankyrin-G and its role in formation of axon initial segments, and ankyrin-B and its role in ankyrin-B syndrome due to ankyrin-B mutation in humans. He currently is the George Barth Geller Professor of Biochemistry and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His honors include Maryland’s Outstanding Young Scientist Award, 1981 a Merit Award from NIH (1990-98), election to the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars (2004), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2009), the National Academy of Sciences (2010), and the Association of American Physicians (2013). He has served as Chair, Keystone Symposium Membrane-Cytoskeleton Interactions (1985); Red Cell Gordon Research Conference (1987); Co-Chair with Stan Froehner, Woods Hole Conference of the Society of General Physiologists, Cytoskeletal Regulation of Membrane Function, (1996); and Chair, 2009 Program Committee of the American Society of Cell Biology. He is especially proud of the talented people who have trained in his laboratory and now direct their own research programs including Peter Agre, Kevin Gardner, Kathy Amberson Hajjar, Velia Fowler, Anthony Baines, David Virshup, Ekatarina Kordeli, Steve Lambert, and Peter Mohler.

Affiliations and Expertise

Duke University Medical Center, USA