Prof Tony Futerman

Prof Tony Futerman received his PhD from the Weizmann Institute of Science in 1986.
Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the Carnegie Institution in Baltimore, Maryland, he joined the faculty of the Weizmann Institute in 1990. His research work focuses on the function and complexity of sphingolipid biosynthesis and degradation. Accumulation of sphingolipids causes Gaucher disease, an inherited metabolic disorder that occurs at a comparatively high frequency in the Ashkenazi Jewish population. Recently, Futerman has been studying a surprising genetic link between Gaucher disease and Parkinson’s disease, while testing the idea that there may be common biochemical pathways that link Gaucher and Parkinson’s diseases.

Futerman served on the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry for 10 years and has chaired two Gordon Conferences related to sphingolipid biology and to inherited lysosomal disorders. More recently, he chaired a conference on the Potential and Limitations of Evolutionary Processes, which reflects his growing interest in whether Darwinian ideas have sufficient explanatory power to account for the development of complex metabolic pathways. Together with a colleague in Munich, he has also initiated a new journal, ‘BioCosmos: New perspectives on the origin and evolution of life’ to establish a forum to discuss novel perspectives on the origins and nature of life that go beyond the standard neo-Darwinian paradigm of biological evolution.