News & Announcements
From the Lab Bench to the Computer
Brian Ralph ’15 combines two approaches to researching innovative pain medication
A passion for both science and math has been a boon for undergraduate Brian Ralph, catapulting him to the crossroads of a major multidisciplinary research project. Since joining the team at theInstitute for Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery (ICB&DD) at Stony Brook, Brian has worked with researchers in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Chemistry, Applied Mathematics and Statistics, and Anesthesiology to develop new pain medications that will work by elevating the levels of natural painkillers in the body. “It’s a great group,” says Brian, a member of the Honors College who is a biology major with a concentration in quantitative biology and bioinformatics — in his words “a bit of a crossover between biology and math.” Now a junior, Brian has been working in Dale Deutsch’s biochemistry lab since his freshman year. Deutsch, Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, and his associates are studying new classes of inhibitors that temporarily stop the action of Fatty Acid Body Proteins (FABPs) present in our cells. The result of this inhibition is an artificial elevation in the natural painkillers — called endocannabinoids — that exist in our bodies. Drugs that may eventually be developed from this research will not be addictive, which is a common problem with the opioids now widely used.
Last month, the ICB&DD received a $3.8 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to continue its groundbreaking work. Led by Principal Investigator Deutsch, other members of the team include Iwao Ojima, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Director of the ICBⅅ Martin Kaczocha, a former post-doctoral fellow in Deutsch’s lab who is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology; Robert Rizzo, Associate Professor of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics; Bill Berger, a PhD candidate in Ojima’s lab; Huilin Li, a biochemist in both the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology and at Brookhaven National Lab; and the Laufer Center for Quantitative and Physical Biology.
To tackle the project from another direction, Brian also works in Rizzo’s lab using software that allows him to visualize and manipulate the FABP protein structures in three-dimensional space. “Different laboratories have different approaches to the same research,” explains Brian. “In Dale’s lab we take a biological approach, and here it’s more of a computational or structural approach.”
In December 2012 Brian co-authored a paper based on the team’s research with Berger and Koczocha in PlosOne. He is also co-author, along with Kaczocha, of a second paper submitted to PlosOne for review. Brian started doing research when he was a student at Smithtown High School West as part of Stony Brook’s Simons Summer Research Program, when he worked with Alan Turner in the Department of Anatomical Sciences. His work in the Deutsch lab has been supported by URECA and a Harvard Lyman award. Brian is a member of both the Undergraduate Biochemistry Society and the Undergraduate Biology Advisory Board.
With the goal of becoming a dentist, Brian is also active in Stony Brook’s Pre-dental Society and has shadowed pediatric dentists and oral surgeons. Will he combine research and dentistry someday? “That’s still up to debate,” says Brian. “I love dentistry. It’s something that’s become very close to me. And while I wish to pursue dentistry, I definitely want to continue with research in the future because it has been such a big part of my life.” In his spare time, Brian plays the cello in Stony Brook’s undergraduate orchestra. He also enjoys cycling and running and is training for a triathlon next spring. “In the end, I would love to live a modest life as a dentist,” he says. “Something where I’d be able to enjoy my life and what I do every day. I’d also like to be able to contribute to the ongoing questions in science and research as part of a lab. And, of course, someday I would love to see Stony Brook’s FABP inhibitor on the market. “You never know. Five, ten years from now, maybe we’ll have advances that can put it through clinical trials, and we’ll see where it goes from there. I’d love to see our whole lab group — the ICB&DD’s — name on a pain inhibitor, something as common as aspirin, hopefully.” (copied from the SBU news by Toby Speed.)
ICB&DD welcomes Dr. Scott T. Laughlin as a Project Member. Dr. Laughlin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry. Dr. Laughlin’s research uses chemistry to examine how the brain works. How does the brain sense the environment? How does it decode that sensory information and control behavior? All of the brain’s many functions rely on its neural circuits—a complex web of neurons connected to each other in such a way that they can perform the logical operations that allow us to think, respond to stimuli, etc. Precisely how neural circuits perform their calculations is a mystery whose solution has wide ranging implications for human health. Using organic synthesis, molecular biology, and behavioral neurobiology, he creates chemical tools to help reveal the structure of neural circuits in living animals. Dr. Laughlin’s received his Ph.D. (2008) in Chemistry and Chemical Biology from University of California, Berkeley. He completed his postdoctoral research fellowship in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at University of California, Berkeley in the laboratory of Professor John Ngai (2008-2013). Dr. Laughlin has an exceptionally strong background in chemistry and neuroscience. He is exploring the interface of chemistry and neurobiology, i.e., "chemical neurobiology". He is one of the "Chemical Biology Initiative" hires at the Chemistry Department and started this past September. Dr. Laughlin will be an excellent addition to the Chemical Biology Training Program and will lead the establishment of Chemical Neurobiology Program at ICB&DD.
ICB&DD welcomes Dr. Ming-Yu Ngai as a Project Member. Dr. Ngai is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry. Dr. Ngai’s research focuses on developing novel and practical synthetic methodologies to address unmet challenges in organic synthesis and medicinal chemistry, and (ii) identifying and developing new radiotracers for Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging to elucidate disease mechanisms, identify drug targets, assess treatment efficacy, and accelerate drug discovery and development. Dr. Ngai’s research interests are multidisciplinary, covering organic and organometallic chemistry, photochemistry, radiochemistry, and biomedical imaging. Dr. Ngai received his Ph.D. (2008) in Chemistry from University of Texas, Austin. He was awarded a Croucher Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Stanford University and worked in the laboratory of Professor Barry M. Trost (2009-2011). He also performed postdoctoral research at Harvard University in the laboratory of Professor Tobias Ritter (2011-2013). Dr. Ngai has an exceptionally strong background in chemical synthesis and will apply it to molecular imaging for diagnosis and therapy. He is one of the "Chemical Biology Initiative" hires at the Chemistry Department and started this past September. Dr. Ngai will be an excellent addition to cancer and infectious diseases research programs, as well as chemical biology training program.
Congratulations to the ICB&DD team, consisting of Drs. Dale Deutsch (PI) Department of Biochemistry, Iwao Ojima (Co-PI) Department of Chemistry, Robert Rizzo (Co-PI) Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, Huiling Li (Co-PI) Department of Biochemistry and Martin Kaczocha (Co-PI) Department of Anesthesiology, School of Medicine on receiving a research award from the National In
stitutes of Health, National Institute of Drug Abuse. This ICB&DD multidisciplinary research team has received a five-year $3.8 million grant for the project entitled “Anandamide Transport Inhibitors”. The main focus of this grant is to develop new drugs, inhibiting recently discovered anandamide transporter, for pain, stress and issues with drug addiction and withdrawal. Anandamide is a neurotransmitter that occurs naturally throughout the body for regulation of pain and stress. This is a very exemplary multi-disciplinary research project of productive collaborative efforts among faculty and ICB&DD. Initial funding for the research began with a SBU-BNL seed grant to Dr. Deutsch and Dr. Li from Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Laboratory in 2010, followed by a Stony Brook University School of Medicine Targeted Research Opportunities (TRO) Fusion award to Drs. Deutsch, Li, and Ojima as well as a New York State SUNY REACH grant for Drs. Deutsch and Haj-Dahmane. Dr. Deutsch also received a previous single investigator grant from the NIH to research FABPs. - See more at:
ICB&DD 7th Annual Symposium
(from left to right) Drs. Jonathan Rudick, Miguel Garcia-Díaz, Iwao Ojima, Nicole Sampson, Linda Hsieh-Wilson, David Green, Geert-Jan Boons, Gerard Hart, Jeffery Esko and Richard Cummings
On Friday, October 11, 2013, The ICB&DD hosted its seventh ICB&DD Annual Symposium entitled, “Frontiers in Glycosciences and Chemical Biology” at the Charles B. Wang Center, Stony Brook University. The symposium featured seven Plenary Lecturers. Two of the lecturers, David Green and Nicole Sampson represented Stony Brook University. The event was very well attended by a widely ranging audience composed of faculty, research staff and students on campus and Brookhaven National Laboratory, as well as universities and industries in the greater NY metropolitan area. The Poster Session equally attracted a large participation of students from Stony Brook University, New York University, Columbia University, Chembio Diagnostic Systems Inc, and Brookhaven National Laboratory among others. There were 82 scientific papers presented at the Poster Session.
Dr. Robert Haltiwanger, Chair of the Symposium Organizing Committee, opened the Symposium, and introduced Dr. Bejamin Hsiao, Vice President for Research at Stony Brook University, who gave welcome remarks for the Symposium. Then, Dr. Haltiwanger introduced Dr. Iwao Ojima, Distinguished Professor and Director of ICB&DD. Dr. Ojima concisely summarized the history of accomplishments, current and future goals of ICB&DD.
Dr. Haltiwanger, Professor and Chair of Cell Biology and Biochemistry, introduced the first Plenary Lecturer, Dr. Gerald Hart, Professor and Director of Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Hart gave a lecture entitled, “Nutrient Regulation of Signaling & Transcription: Roles of O-GlcNAcylation in Diabetes, Cancer and Neurodegeneration”. He presented an excellent overview of his research program on understanding how dynamic O-GlcNAcylation serves as a major sensor of cellular nutrient status and how it regulates transcription, signaling and metabolism in response to nutrients.
Dr. Jonathan Rudick, Assistant Professor of Chemistry introduced the second Plenary Lecturer, Dr. Geert-Jan Boons, Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Georgia. Dr. Boons gave a lecture entitled, “Glycoscience: Downsizing or Oversizing?” His presentation described a chemoenzymatic strategy that can provide libraries of highly complex asymmetrical N-glycans
Dr. Wei-Xing Zong, Associate Professor of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology introduced the third Plenary Lecturer, Dr. Jeffery Esko, Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine, University of California at San Diego. Dr. Esko gave a very stimulating lecture entitled, “Heparin Sulfate: Light at the End of the Chain”. In his presentation, Dr. Esko focused on the need for improved biomarkers for differential diagnosis, prognosis and monitoring of therapeutic interventions for mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS).
Dr. Elizabeth Boon, Associate Professor of Chemistry introduced the fourth Plenary Lecturer, Dr. Nicole Sampson, Professor and Chair, Department of Chemistry, Stony Brook University. Dr. Sampson gave a lecture entitled, “Mycobacteria on Steroids: Metabolite Profiling and Enzyme Function”. She described the identification of two new structural-functional enzyme motifs in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) for the catalysis of b-oxidation with steroid substrates in the igr operon that function in the metabolic pathway for sterol side chain cleavage in the metabolism of cholesterol.
Dr. David Green, Associate Professor of Applied Mathematics and Statistics introduced the fifth Plenary Lecturer, Dr. Richard Cummings, Professor and Chair, Department of Chemistry, National Center for Functional Glycomics, Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Cummings’ lecture was entitled, “Genetic and Biochemical Insights into Roles of Glycoconjugates in Animal Biology and Disease”. Dr. Cummings presented how the use of both genetic and biochemical approaches has enabled him and his team to explore the roles of glycoconjugates in a variety of biological systems, including animal development and cancer, as well as innate and adaptive immune responses.
Dr. Miguel Garcia-Diaz, Associate Professor of Pharmacology introduced the sixth Plenary Lecturer, Dr. David Green, Associate Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, Stony Brook University. Dr. Green’s presentation was entitled, “Rational Engineering of Anti-Viral Lectins Targeting HIV”. In his lecture, Dr. Green indicated that viral surfaces are able to avoid an immune response because their surfaces are heavily glycosylated. He indicated that his team’s understanding of the origins and affinities of a series of oligosaccharides is evolving and his team has developed computational models that explain the known differences in affinities for a series of oligosaccharides and provide insight into the mechanisms of multi-valent bonding.
Dr. Isaac Carrico, Associate Professor of Chemistry introduced the seventh Plenary Lecturer, Dr. Linda Hsieh-Wilson, Professor Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Pasadena, California. Dr. Hsieh-Wilson’s presentation was entitled, “The Sweeter Side of Cellular Signaling: Elucidating the Structure-Function Relationships of Carbohydrates in the Brain”. In her stimulating presentation, Dr. Hsieh-Wilson described the fundamental challenges in studying carbohydrates and the development of chemical approaches to overcome these challenges. She exemplified how the principles and tools of chemistry can be used to elucidate the roles of carbohydrates and their associated proteins in development and neuroregeneration.
Dr. Haltiwanger gave the closing remarks, thanking the Plenary Lecturers for their outstanding presentations as well as the Organizing Committee members for the successful planning and execution of the 7th Annual ICB&DD Symposium.
There were 82 scientific papers presented at the Poster Session. The best two posters were selected for the Poster Awards. The award-winning posters this year were: Sajjad Hossain from the laboratory of Elizabeth Boon in Department of Chemistry and Julie-Ann Cavallo from Department of Pharmacological Sciences, Stony Brook School of Medicine.
The 7th ICB&DD Symposium culminated with a splendid dinner at the Chapel of the Charles B. Wang Center. Among other attendees were Dr. Benjamin Hsiao, Vice-President for Research, Dr. Nicole Sampson (Chair, Department of Chemistry), Maria Ryan (Chair, Department of Oral Biology and Pathology) and Dr. Michael Frohman (Chairman, Department of Pharmacological Sciences, SOM). They expressed their appreciation for the outstanding lectures presented at the Symposium. Equally, they acknowledged the high level of importance of ICB&DD collaborative efforts among academia and industry. They all congratulated Professor Ojima for his numerous contributions and successful leadership of the ICB&DD. The symposium was co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research, Office of the Provost, School of Medicine, Department of Chemistry, Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Forest Laboratories Inc. and Chem-Master International, Inc.
ICB&DD welcomes Mr. Andreas G. Grill as new Advisory Board Member. Mr. Grill is the Executive Director for Pharmaceutical Research & Development at Forest Research Institute, a subsidiary of Forest Laboratories, Inc. Mr. Grill is an executive leader with over twenty years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. He is company appointed Global Project Development Team Leader responsible for global drug development and executive direction from conception through marketing registration. As a corporate business development team member, Andreas is responsible for maintaining partner relationships and representing Forest Laboratories as member of multiple Joint Steering Committees with several major business partners (US and ex-US). Moreover, Mr. Grill has extensive experience with implementing and leading pharmaceutical research & development departments that include functional areas of biopharmaceutics, formulation development, analytical development, preformulation, bioanalytical & drug metabolism, regulatory CMC and project management. Mr. Grill has held scientific and leadership positions at Pfizer, Forest Laboratories and Forest Research Institute. Mr. Grill’s versatile experience encompasses the development of a broad range of pharmaceutical dosage forms which transverse multiple indications. This versatility contributes to an impressive negotiation record with several domestic and international development partners as well as multiple divisions of the Food and Drug Administration and various Health Authorities worldwide. Mr. Grill is responsible for contributing to a significant number of pharmaceutical drug product approvals within the United States and worldwide. The products within Mr. Grills impressive portfolio include Lexapro®, Namenda®, Campral®, Combunox®, Bystolic®, Savella®, Namenda XR®, Teflaro™, Daliresp™ and Linzess™. Mr. Grill is an appointed Member of the Bioscience Advisory Board for SUNY Farmingdale and an appointed Member of the Board of Directors for the Farmingdale College Foundation. In addition, Mr. Grill volunteers as an Advisor for the BioStrategy Sessions at SUNY Stony Brook – Center of Biotechnology. Mr. Grill holds a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook with graduate studies in Pharmacology/Toxicology at Saint John’s University and a Master of Business Administration from Dowling College.
6th ICB&DD Annual Symposium
(from left to right) Drs. Holger Sondermann, David Lawrence, Bonnie Bassler, Deborah Hung, Iwao Ojima, Elizabeth Boon, Jeffery Kelly and Todd Miller.
On Friday, October 12, 2012, The ICB&DD hosted its Sixth ICB&DD Annual Symposium, “Frontiers in Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery” at the Charles B. Wang Center at Stony Brook University. The symposium featured seven Plenary Lecturers. Two of them were from Stony Brook University. The event was very well attended by a wide range of audience from faculty, research staff and students on campus as well as universities and industries in the greater NY metropolitan area and Brookhaven National Laboratory. The Poster Session equally attracted a large participation of students from Stony Brook University, New York University, Columbia University, Chembio Diagnostic Systems Inc, and Brookhaven National Laboratory among others. There were 78 scientific abstracts presented at the Poster Session.
Dr. Todd Miller, Professor and Chair of the Symposium Organizing Committee, opened the Symposium and introduced Dr. Iwao Ojima, Distinguished Professor and Director of ICB&DD. Dr. Ojima concisely summarized the history of accomplishments, current and future goals of the ICB&DD. Dr.Elizabeth Boon, Assistant Professor of Chemistry introduced the first Plenary Lecturer, Dr. Bonnie BasslerHoward Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and the Squibb Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University, Member of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Bassler gave a lecture entitled “Manipulating Quorum Sensing to Control Bacterial Pathogenecity” . She explained the focus of her research on understanding how cell-cell communication in bacteria involves the production, release and subsequent detection of chemical signaling molecules named autoinducers. A process called quorum sensing. Research is now targeted in the development of therapies that interfere with quorum sensing to control bacterial virulence. Dr. Daniel Raleigh, Professor of Chemistry introduced the second Plenary Lecturer, Dr. Jeffery Kelly, Chairman, Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, Department of Chemistry, the Scripps Research Institute. Dr. Kelly gave a lecture entitled “Biological and Chemical Approaches to Adapt Proteostasis to Ameliorate Protein Misfolding and Aggregation Diseases”. His presentation focused on how the proteostasis network can be adapted through unfolded protein response arm-selective signaling to alleviate several loss-of-function diseases where excessive misfolding and degradation leads to maladies like the lysosomal storage diseases. Dr. James Bliska,Professor of Microbiology, introduced the third Plenary Lecturer, Dr. Holger Sondermann, Dr. Sondermann gave a very stimulating lecture entitled “The ins and outs of c-di-GMP Signaling in Bacterial Biofilm Formation”. In his presentation, Dr. Sondermann focused on the molecular mechanisms that yield finely tuned signaling cascades controlling cell adhesion in several bacterial species. In addition, how in the long term, the results emerging from these studies could provide blueprints for the development of novel therapeutics against bacterial infections. Dr. Stanley Zucker, Professor of Medicine, introduced the fourth Plenary Lecturer, Dr. Basil Rigas, Professor of Medicine and Pharmacological Sciences. Chief, Divisions of Cancer Prevention and Gastroenterology, Dean for Clinical Affairs, Stony Brook University School of Medicine. Dr. Rigas gave a lecture entitled “Modified NSAIDs and Cancer”. He presented an overview of his research on cancer prevention and its emphasis on the development of novel anticancer agents. He discussed how epidemiological studies and interventional trials have established NSAIDs as efficacious chemopreventive agents against several human cancers. Their drawbacks are low efficacy and significant side effects. To overcome these limitations, he has developed a general approach through which targeted chemical modifications of NSAIDs enhance their efficacy and minimize their toxicity. Dr. Jessica Seeliger, Assistant Professor of Pharmacological Sciences introduced the fifth Plenary Lecturer, Dr. Deborah Hung, Physician Scientist, Center for Computational and Integrative Biology, and Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital; Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology, Harvard Medical School; Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University. Dr. Hung’s lecture was entitled “Chemical Biological Approach to TB: Identifying New Drugs Targets”. Dr. Hung explained the focus of her research in how she is combining chemical biology and genomic approaches to define host-pathogen interactions and to reveal essential in vivo gene functions of pathogens to explore new paradigms for anti-infective intervention. By deploying small organic molecules and genome-wide tools to both perturb and understand bacterial infection, she is working to provide insight into new approaches to a variety of devastating pathogens, including Vibrio cholerae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Dr. Peter Tonge, Professor of Chemistry introduced the sixth Plenary Lecturer, Dr. Elizabeth Boon, AssistantProfessor of Department of Chemistry, Stony Brook University. Dr. Boon’s gave a lecture entitled “Nitric Oxide Signaling in Bacteria: Discovery of a new Mechanism for regulating Bacterial Group Behavior”. She described her studies on the importance of nitric oxide (NO) as biological signals and its signaling role in bacteria. NO has also been implicated in processes such as quorum sensing and biofilm formation. Biofilms are extremely resistant to antibiotic treatments and responsible for approximately 60 percent of all human infections. Dr. Todd Miller, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics introduced the seventh Plenary Lecturer, Dr. David Lawrence, Professor, Division of Medicinal Chemistry & Natural Products, School of Pharmacy & Department of Chemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Lawrence presented a lecture entitled “Organic Chemistry at the Edge of Biology: Taming Cell Behavior with Light Responsive Molecules”. His very informative lecture provided a comprehensive view of the challenges associated with the design, synthesis, and use of light-responsive bioreagents, the scope and limitations associated with the instrumentation required for their applications, and a few recent examples used to scrutinize the secrets of cell signaling and behavior. Dr. Miller gave the closing remarks, thanking the Plenary Lecturers for their outstanding presentations as well as the Organizing Committee members for the successful planning and execution of the 6th Annual ICB&DD Symposium.
There were 78 scientific abstracts at the Poster Session. The best two posters were selected for the Poster Awards. The award-winning posters this year were by Dr. Kanishk Kapilashrami from the laboratory of Dr. Peter Tonge, Department of Chemistry, Esam Al-Shareffi from the laboratory of Dr. Robert Haltiwanger, Department of Biochemistry and William J. Allen from the laboratory of Dr. Robert Rizzo, Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Stony Brook University.
The 6th ICB&DD Symposium culminated with a splendid dinner at the Chapel of the Charles B. Wang Center. Among other attendees were Dr. Nicole Sampson (Chairman, Department of Chemistry), Dr. Michael Frohman (Chairman, Department of Pharmacological Sciences, SOM) and Anil Duhndale (Executive Director of the Long Island High Technology Incubator (LIHTI) and Stony Brook University Business Incubators). They expressed their appreciation for the outstanding lectures presented at the Symposium. Equally, they acknowledged the high level of importance of ICB&DD collaborative efforts among academia and industry. They all congratulated Professor Ojima for his numerous contributions and successful leadership of the ICB&DD. The symposium was cosponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research, Office of the Provost, School of Medicine Office of Scientific Affairs, Department of Chemistry, Forest Laboratories Inc. and Chem-Master International, Inc.
ICB&DD congratulates Dr. Iwao Ojima for being named as the recipient of the 2013 American Chemical Society (ACS) Award for Creative Work in Fluorine Chemistry! Dr. Ojima is cited “for his outstanding contributions to fluorine chemistry through his pioneering and creative research in synthetic methodology and biomedical applications.” Dr. Ojima’s research, a combination of both transition metal catalysis and medicinal chemistry, has had a profound impact on the fluorine chemistry at the biomedical interface. This is his third ACS National Award in addition to the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award (organic chemistry) in 1994 and the E. B. Hershberg Award (drug discovery and medicinal chemistry) in 2001, illuminating the exceptional breadth and excellence in his research. Dr. Ojima first introduced catalytic processes into organofluorine chemistry in the early 1980s, and developed highly-efficient methods for the practical synthesis of optically active fluoro-amino acids by means of catalysis and enzymatic resolution. His invention of a highly efficient process for the synthesis of 5-trifluoromethyluracil was commercialized for the production of trifluridine (antiviral drug). He developed successful fluorine-containing molecules for the treatment of high blood pressure and as pain killers. Most recently, he synthesized taxol derivatives containing fluorine as anticancer agents, probes of chemical and structural biology, and to enhance drug potency. Dr. Ojima will receive his award at the American Chemical Society Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, April 7-11, 2013, and will also present an award address at the Biennial Winter Fluorine Conference in St. Pete Beach, Florida, January 13-18, 2013.
ICB&DD has acquired a new mass spectrometer from Agilent Technologies for the Analytical Chemistry Laboratory. The new Agilent LC-UV-TOF was acquired in the summer of 2012. The instrument consists of a 1260 uPLC, a TOF mass analyzer and a UV-Vis diode-array detector (DAD). The DAD provides wavelength measurements from 190-800nm with a 20Hz acquisition rate. The mass spectrometer is a G6224A oaTOF model. It provides MS capabilities in the range m/z=100-20,000. It is typically operated in MS mode in the range m/z=100-3200 while maintaining a resolution of 20,000 at m/z= 1,522 and acquiring 20 spectra/sec with an accuracy of <2 ppm. The instrument has two possible ionization sources: 1) an ESI source and 2) a MultiMode source consisting of combined ESI and APCI ionization modes. Both sources have dual inlets allowing for internal reference mass calibration to achieve <2ppm mass accuracy. The instrument is used exclusively for accurate mass determination, formula verification (HRMS) and sample purity analysis for small molecules and biopolymers. The new Agilent LC-UV-TOF is located in Room 570 of the ICB&DD Analytical Chemistry Laboratory. The acquisition of this instrument was made possible by a generous research support from the Reata Pharmaceuticals to ICB&DD through Dr. Honda (Director, ICB&DD Anti-inflammatory Research Laboratory) and a matching fund from the SBU Office of the Vice-President for Research.
ICB&DD congratulates Dr. James Bliska for being elected Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. The American Academy of Microbiology is the honorific leadership group of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the world’s oldest and largest life science organization. Academy Fellows are eminent leaders in the field of microbiology and are relied upon for authoritative advice and information on critical issues in microbiology. Fellows are elected through a highly selective peer review process based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology. Dr. Bliska, who joined the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology in 1993, investigates molecular mechanisms that underlie the pathogenesis of bacteria, particularly in regard to host-microbe cell interactions in the genus Yersinia. Discoveries in his laboratory have led to advances in the fields of bacterial pathogenesis and cell biology. Dr. Bliska pioneered work on a specialized bacterial toxin secretion mechanism that is now referred to in microbiology as type III secretion, a significant finding to help broaden the research field known as cellular microbiology. He invented an approach used to identify host cell targets of a bacterial toxin, a unique technological advancement widely adopted by other researchers. Dr. Bliska also discovered that host cells have innate immune mechanisms that can detect bacterial toxin secretion, a finding of general importance in the field of immunology. Dr. Bliska and other newly elected fellows nationwide were recognized at the annual ASM General Meeting in San Francisco, California on June 19, 2012
ICB&DD welcomes Dr.Yusuf Hannun as new Advisory Board Member. Dr. Hannun is the new Director of the Stony Brook Cancer Center and Vice Dean for Cancer Medicine, SOM SBU. Dr. Hannun is a renowned molecular biologist and physician-scientist who came to Stony Brook from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) where he was Deputy Director of MUSC’s Hollings Cancer Center. Under Dr. Hannun’s leadership, the Hollings Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Center, was established at MUSC in 2009. Dr. Hannun’s research area of expertise focuses on investigating the molecular mechanisms of cancer, in particular, lipid mediators of cancer cell signaling. Dr. Hannun and colleagues discovered the signaling functions of these lipids and the vital roles they play in the cancer disease process, and cancer therapy, as well as in other areas of biomedicine such as neurobiology, inflammation, and metabolism. Dr. Hannun earned his M.D. degree with distinction in 1981 from the American University in Beirut, Lebanon. At the American University he completed an internship and residency in Internal Medicine. In 1986 he moved to the United States to serve a fellowship in Hematology and Oncology at Duke University. At Duke he rose to become the Wayne Rundles Professor of Oncology, the Director of the Program in Molecular Medicine, and Associate Director of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center. As the Director of the Stony Brook Cancer Center, Dr. Hannun will oversee a program that includes 12 site-specific, multidisciplinary disease management teams that are dedicated to diagnosing and treating patients with breast, colorectal, gastrointestinal, hematological, pediatric cancers, and all other types of cancers. He will also oversee research programs conducted within the School of Medicine that supports the disease management teams.
ICB&DD would like to welcome Dr. Huilin Li as a new Project Member. Dr. Li is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Stony Brook University and has a joint appointment as a Biophysicist in the Biology Department of Brookhaven National Laboratory. The major goal of Dr. Li's research is to understand the function of biological macromolecules via structural analyses, primarily by cryo-electron microscopy (Cryo-EM). Cryo-EM is capable of revealing low to medium resolution structures of large protein complexes that are proven difficult for X-ray crystallography or NMR methods. Dr. Li’s other research interests include: Structural basis of eukaryotic DNA replication initiation,the M. tuberculosis proteasome pathway and structural biology of membrane protein assemblies. He received his Ph.D in Electron Crystallography from University of Sciences and Technology, Beijing, China in 1994, and performed his postdoctoral research at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (1994-1998) and was appointed as a Project Scientist there (1998-2002). He joined the Biology Department at Brookhaven National Laboratory in 2002, first as an Associate Biophysicist and was promoted to Biophysicist with tenure (2002-2010). Then, he joined Stony Brook University in 2010. Dr. Li will be an excellent addition to the Structural Biology Program and the Infectious Research Program as well as other ICB&DD activities.
ICB&DD welcomes Dr. Anilkumar Dhundale as new Advisory Board Member. Dr. Dhundale is the Executive Director of the Long Island High Technology Incubator (LIHTI) and Stony Brook University Business Incubators. He is also an Adjunct Professor of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at SBU. Dr. Dhundale earned his B.S. in Chemistry from Queens College of CUNY in 1970, and spent 12 years at North Shore-LIJ as a medical technologist and then supervising an Automated Clinical Chemistry Laboratory. He earned M.S. degree in Clinical Chemistry from C.W. Post of Long Island University in 1976 and Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from SBU in 1987. In 1987-1998, Dr. Dhundale was involved in the development of diagnostic and research products, and in multiple aspects of drug discovery and technology development atOSI Pharmaceuticals LLC. He served as the Director for Scientific Affairs at the Center for Biotechnolgy at SBU in 1998-2008. Dr. Dhundale’s research interests are in commercialization of technology, i.e.- translating research discoveries into useable commercial products. These products can be therapeutics to treat disease, diagnostics for identifying or classifying disease, or tools for researchers to use. But in addition, all technology based products include Information Technologies, Clean/ Alternative Energy, etc. In 2008, Dr. Dhundale was appointed as the Executive Director of LIHTI, manages the Stony Brook Technology Business Incubators Program, assisting academic researchers to start companies as well as mentoring established small technology businesses, all with a goal to translate discoveries into novel products and services. LIHTI’s ultimate goal for economic development is to create and retain high technology jobs and have positive economic impact in the Long Island region.
ICB&DD would like to welcome Dr. Kenneth Dill as Advisory Board Member. Dr. Dill is the Director of the Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative Biology at Stony Brook University and Professor of the Department of Physics and Astronomy as well as the Department of Chemistry. Dr. Dill is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a past president of the Biophysical Society. He is well known internationally for his pioneering work on the physical forces that give rise to the structures and properties of protein molecules. Dr. Dill came to Stony Brook University in 2010 and was named the founding Director of the Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative Biology. The main goals of Dr. Dill’s research in the Laufer Center are (i) to better understand the physical principles of biology and study the physics of proteins, biological cells, and water; (ii) to develop methods in statistical physics and computational biology. Dr. Dill received his S.B, S.M. (1971) in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. (1978) in Biology from the University of California at San Diego and performed postdoctoral research (1981) in chemistry at Stanford University. Prior to his appointment at Stony Brook, he was at the University of California at San Francisco (1982-2010) where he rose to the rank of Distinguished Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Biophysics and Associate Dean of Research in the School of Pharmacy
ICB&DD-Sanofi Collaboration on TB Drug Discovery and Development
From left to right: Dr. Peter Tonge, Provost Dennis Assanis, Deputy Vice-President for Research Nancy Daneau, Sanofi Associate Vice President, Head of Infectious Disease Research, Dr. Laurent Fraisse, Sanofi Medicinal Chemistry Partnership Manager, Infectious Disease Unit, Dr. Gilles Courtemanche, Distinguished Professor IwaoOjima, Office of Sponsored Programs Manager, Lydia Chabza and Sean Boykevisch, Licensing Associate, Office of Technology Licensing
Stony Brook University and Sanofi have announced amulti-year research collaboration with an option to a world-wide license to compounds resulting from the ICB&DD Director, Dr. Ojima’s work on FtsZ inhibition as a potential treatment for Tuberculosis (TB) and other bacterial infections. TB is a lethal and highly contagious infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB is second only to HIV as the most deadly infectious disease. TB is transmitted through the air and may lay dormant in the body in a latent state. It is estimated that one third of the world’s population is infected with latent TB and approximately 12 million people suffer from active infection. Once active, TB is spread through the air by coughing and sneezing. TB is treated with a cocktail of antibiotics over the course of 6 months or more, making it a long, complicated and difficult to follow treatment regimen. Not adhering to the treatment course can lead to the development of multiple drug resistant TB (MDR-TB). Therefore, new drug targets and treatments are needed to shorten treatment times and improve reatment outcomes. Dr. Ojima and his team at ICB&DD have discovered novel compounds that inhibit bacterial cell division by interfering with a critical cellular protein called FtsZ. The FtsZ is responsible for forming a contractile ring within the bacteria that is essential for cell division. By interfering with FtsZ assembly, the bacteria are unable to maintain, divide and propagate. Dr. Ojima’s team at ICB&DD will work with Sanofi to optimize these novel benzimidazole-based compounds with the objective to identify drug candidates ready for translational drug development. ICB&DD is very excited to work with Sanofi, a world leading pharmaceutical industry, including therapeutics for TB and other infectious diseases. This collaboration demonstrates ICB&DD’s innovative approach to finding solutions to unmet medical needs.
ICB&DD welcomes Dr. Vincent Yang as a member and Steering Committee member. Dr. Yang is the Chairman of the Department of Medicine in the Stony Brook University School of Medicine. Dr. Yang is a nationally recognized physician-scientist specializing in gastrointestinal (GI) cancers. Dr. Yang’s research interests focus on understanding the molecular mechanisms that control proliferation and differentiation of intestinal epithelial cells and how these processes are perturbed in gastrointestinal malignancies. His clinical interest is focused on hereditary colon cancer syndromes and he works closely with national organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to establish genetic epidemiology of such diseases. Dr. Yang received his Ph.D. Degree in Biochemical Sciences from Princeton University and his Medical Degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Dr. Yang then served as an Intern and Resident in Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he also completed a Fellowship in Gastroenterology, after which he joined the Hopkins faculty, rising to become Associate Professor of Medicine and Biological Chemistry. He then moved, 10 years ago, to Emory University, where he rose to Professor and was appointed as head of the Division of Digestive Diseases. Under his tenure, he recruited 30 new faculty members and an equal number of research staff to the division, including six physician-scientists. Grant funding to the division included over 20 NIH and VA grants and 10 ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) awards. Dr. Yang significantly enhanced the academic reputation of the Division of Digestive Disease at Emory. He assumed his current position as the Chair of the Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Stony Brook University in September 2011. Dr. Yang has been elected to the two most prestigious honor societies devoted to clinical investigation in the U.S., the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. A recipient of numerous awards, he was one of the first to receive the Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Clinician Scientist Award in 2001. Previously, he received a Sandoz Clinician Scientist Award from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the American Gastroenterology Association/Sandoz Research Scholar Award and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Distinguished Alumni Award. Dr. Yang will be an outstanding addition to the Cancer Research Program and other ICB&DD activities.
ICB&DD welcomes Dr. Agnieszka Bialkowska as a Project Member. Dr. Bialkowska is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Stony Brook University. Dr. Bialkowska’s major research interest is on the mechanisms of the development and progression of colorectal cancer. Her work focuses on transcription factor Krüppel-like Factor 5 (KLF5), which has been shown to be involved in both processes. Additionally, in cooperation with Scripps Research Institute of Molecular Screening Center (SRIMSC), she utilizes the high-throughput screen method to discover and identify small molecular compounds that modulate activity of KLF5 and impact colon cancer cell proliferation. She is currently collaborating in a study to resolve the role of KLF5 in inflammation. She received her Ph.D. (2003) in Biochemistry from the Polish Academy of Sciences. Previous to joining the Department of Medicine at Stony Brook, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in gene therapy in the Gene Therapy Program at Louisiana State University. She also performed postdoctoral research at Emory University School of Medicine, Division of Digestive Diseases under the mentorship of Dr. Vincent Yang. Dr. Bialkowska will be an excellent addition to the Cancer Research Program and other ICB&DD activities.
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