Plenary Speakers

Klaus Hofmann Lecture

Metabolic Flexibility and Suspended Animation
4:00 p.m., Friday, 8 October

Mark B. Roth, PhD
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Division of Basic Sciences
Affiliate Associate Professor
of Biochemistry
University of Washington

Mark B. Roth, PhD, is a member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and an affiliate associate professor of biochemistry at the University of Washington. Early in his career, Roth discovered a class of phosphoproteins that act as autoantigens in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. This discovery led him to develop the anti-SR protein antibody assay, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2003 as a clinical test for the diagnosis of lupus. Roth’s recent work in metabolic flexibility and suspended animation earned him a MacArthur Fellowship and a 2007 Award for Significant Technical Achievement by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. He has shown that hydrogen sulfide can induce a reversible hibernation-like state in rats, reducing oxygen consumption and thereby slowing cellular activity. While in this suspended state, rats can survive otherwise lethal hemorrhage with no observable detrimental effects. Roth postulates that hydrogen sulfide therapy could allow humans to enter a reversible state of suspended animation after trauma or hypoxic injury such as stroke or cardiac arrest. By lengthening the time that patients can survive without oxygen, the treatment would buy time for physicians to intervene, giving patients a greater chance of full recovery. Seattle biotech company Ikaria Inc., which Roth founded in 2005, is engaged in human trials to measure the benefits of intravenous hydrogen sulfide therapy in patients suffering from ischemic injury. Roth earned a BS from the University of Oregon and a PhD from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He completed postdoctoral studies at the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Baltimore.