Recent MBB Faculty Achievements

  • Dr. Paul Fitzpatrick was informed on January 11, 2011 that he has been elected as a Fellow of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science – the publishers of Science magazine) in the Chemistry Section. He is being honored for outstanding contributions and critical insights into the mechanisms of the aromatic amino acid hydroxylases, including oxygen activation and reaction intermediates, and many years of service as chair of review panels for NIH, NSF, and VA, as well as current executive editor of Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics. This is a very significant honor and recognition of his extensive contributions to our understanding of the basic enzymology that underlies the synthesis of neurotransmitters and other physiologically important families of compounds. He is only the 4th of the current faculty at UTHSCSA to have one. The others are Bob Clark, Joel Baseman (in Medical Sciences) and Bettie Sue Masters (in Biological Sciences). As these awards are for all areas of science, this is impressive. It now makes us even with UTSA (who have 4, only 1 in the Bio-medical or chemical areas), and comparable to other HSC campuses in the state, like UTSW.
  • Dr. Andrew Hinck was recently awarded a major instrumentation grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute in Texas. The award, which was made in April, 2012, provides a number of key upgrades for the NMR facility. The primary purpose of the requested instrumentation is to provide infrastructure for fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD), an innovative new methodology that is revolutionizing drug discovery. FBDD involves monitoring perturbations in individual NMR signals from a purified biomolecule in the presence of a small molecule inhibitor from a fragment library. The primary advantage of this technology compared to conventional high throughput approaches is that it provides information not only about whether an inhibitor binds, but where it binds. The secondary advantage is that it permits the detection of weakly binding inhibitors. The detailed structural information about where the fragments bind can be used to develop high affinity inhibitors by coupling together two fragments that bind at adjacent sites. The new NMR instrumentation is a key component of a larger initiative for drug discovery at the University, known as the Center for Innovation in Drug Discovery (CIDD). CIDD includes capabilities for both high throughput/high content screening, as well as for medicinal chemistry, and thus the University is very well-positioned to use cutting-edge structure-based technologies to develop novel inhibitors for preventing and treating disease.
  • Dr. Susan Weintraub is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Director of the Institutional Mass Spectrometry Laboratory. The MS core was established in 1979 and now offers state-of-the-art MS analyses for both proteomics and metabolomics. On July 1, 2012, Dr. Weintraub began serving as the President of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry. With over 8500 U.S. and international members, the ASMS annual conference attracts more than 6500 attendees who present more than 3000 orals and posters covering topics that include advancement of techniques and instrumentation in mass spectrometry, as well as fundamental research in chemistry, geology, forensics, biological sciences and physics. In addition to her ASMS activities, Dr. Weintraub is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Proteome Research. As described on the journal’s website, “The Journal of Proteome Research (JPR) publishes content encompassing all aspects of global protein analysis and function, emphasizing the synergy between physical and life sciences resulting in a multidisciplinary approach to the understanding of biological processes.”
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