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Massachusetts scientist honored by Desert Research Institute

Dr. Susan Lindquist was awarded the Nevada Medal by the Desert Research Institute for her medical breakthroughs in biology and bioengineering during a dinner and award ceremony April 12 at Caesars Palace.

The annual event is duplicated in Las Vegas and Reno, with the Nevada Medal winner giving a public lecture on both campuses of the Desert Research Institute.

Lindquist is a professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Albert D. Lasker professor of medical sciences at the University of Chicago.

Her findings indicate that proteins that behave improperly and clump together can contribute to cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer’s disease and mad cow disease.

Lindquist narrated a video made at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research about how yeast cells can be an invaluable tool for studying the mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease.

She received a minted 8-ounce silver medallion and a $20,000 prize, sponsored by AT&T Nevada.

This was the 20th annual Nevada Medal event and was chaired by Gov. Jim Gibbons and first lady Dawn Gibbons, although they did not attend the Las Vegas dinner. The governor’s proclamation naming April 11 a day for honoring Lindquist and the medal were presented by Dr. Stephen Wells, president of the Desert Research Institute in Las Vegas, and representatives from AT&T.

Attendees included University of Nevada, Las Vegas President David Ashley and university Regents Stavros Anthony, Thalia Dondero, Dorothy Gallagher, Cedric Crear, Mark Alden and Michael Wixom.

Other guests included Mary and Troy Wade, Fred Gibson, Annie Strauss, Terry Van Noy, Marilee and Peter Kovacs, Chuck Creigh, Tom Warden, Freda and Nick Aquilina, Heidi Wixom, Sue Sullivan, Denny Weddle, Thom Schoeman, Sidra and Chip Kain, Judy and Jim Kropid, Dee and Ken Ladd, John Gardner, Allison Copening, Beth Gayler and Lonnie Hammargren.

Paula Francis and Gary Waddell of KLAS-TV, Channel 8 served as masters of ceremonies.

A silent auction for 89 items took place during the cocktail reception.

During dinner, Christian Kolberg conducted a live auction for five rare items and one-of-a-kind experiences, such as two paper weights containing crystallized pack rat poop thousands of years old that sold for $3,000 each.

A cruise of Lake Tahoe for 16 guests to learn about the lake and dine in the Star Harbor home of Nancy and Charles Goldman sold for $6,250. A two-day trip for four to Elko to tour the Newmont Mine went for $1,500, and another three-day trip for two to Elko for the Cowboy Poetry Festival with Stephen and Beth Wells sold for $4,500. Batting practice on the field at San Francisco’s AT&T Park and four box tickets to a Giants-Los Angeles Dodgers game went for $1,100. A Michael E. Minden diamond necklace sold for $1,250.

New digs: The Junior League of Las Vegas debuted its headquarters in the historic Morelli house on Bridger Avenue April 9 with a VIP patio party.

Committee members wore outfits and hairstyles of the 1950s as they greeted guests including the event’s speakers Mayor Oscar Goodman, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley and architectural historian Alan Hess.

Later in the evening, Hess presented a lecture on midcentury modern architecture, including the Morelli house, which was built in 1959 in the Desert Inn Estates.

Sherry Colquitt, with assistance from Dedee Nave, were congratulated for their dedication in restoring the Morelli house to a pristine, accurate and beautiful example of Las Vegas’ midcentury residential architecture.

Anniversary: The Mesquite Club celebrated 96 years of service to the Las Vegas Valley at a wine and dinner buffet Saturday at Spanish Trail Country Club.

Greeting guests were Mesquite Club President Jerrie Pearson, event chairwoman Jeanne Greenawalt and honorary chair Laurie Porter. More than 138 members — some in vintage costumes — and their guests attended.

The Nevada School of the Arts Violin Ensemble performed. The club was honored by Mayor Goodman and General Federation of Women’s Club State President Connie McCullogh.

Early photos depicting the club’s history filled the room along with floral arrangements of baskets of lilies decorated with lace, miniature hats and gloves.

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