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2008 News

2nd ICB&DD Annual Symposium


(from left to right) Drs. Isaac Carrico, Iwao Ojima, William Jorgensen, Yves Pommier, John Haley, William DeGrado, Brian Chait, Robert Rizzo and Orlando Schärer.


The ICB&DD presented its second ICB&DD Annual Symposium, “Frontiers in Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery”, at the Charles B. Wang Center at Stony Brook University on October 10, 2008. The symposium featured five distinguished plenary lecturers and three invited speakers. The symposium attracted a wide rage of audience from faculty, research staff, and students on campus as well as Brookhaven National Laboratory and industries in the greater NY metropolitan area. Dr. Orlando Schärer, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Pharmacology and Co-Chair of the Symposium Organizing Committee introduced Dr. Ojima, Distinguished Professor and Director of ICB&DD, who briefly summarized the successful establishment, accomplishments and current goals of the ICB&DD. Dr. Stanley Zucker, Professor Department of Medicine, introduced the first plenary lecturer, Dr. John Haley, Senior Research Director of Translational Research at OSI Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Haley presented his lecture on “ Rational Anti-Cancer Drug Combinations and Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors Resistance”, providing a comprehensive view of his research centered on drug target pathway identification and biomarker discovery through understanding of epithelial-mesenchymal transition and cancer recurrence. Dr. Robert Rizzo, Assistant Professor of Statistics and Applied Mathematics, introduced the second plenary speaker and his former Ph.D. mentor, Dr. William Jorgensen, Professor of Chemistry at Yale University. Dr. Jorgensen’s presentation on “Computer-Aided Drug Lead Generation and Optimization” was a very inspirational talk that highlighted his research accomplishments as a pioneer in the field. Dr. Carlos Simmerling, Associate Professor of Chemistry, introduced Dr. Robert Rizzo as SBU’s first invited speaker. Dr. Rizzo presented “Origins of Drug Resistance using Computational Methods”, describing how his research laboratory, utilizing “computational structural biology” strategies, is identifying small molecules that can be used as anti-cancer agents or as antiviral inhibitors for HIV and influenza. Dr. Orlando Schärer introduced the third plenary lecturer, Dr. Yves Pommier, Chief, Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Pommier’s lecture was on “Topoisomerase I: Campothecins and Beyond”. Dr. Pommier is internationally recognized for his work on the elucidation of the function of topoisomerases as targets for anticancer drugs. The second SBU invited speaker, Dr. Galina Botchkina, Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, was introduced by Dr. Nicole Sampson, Professor of Chemisty. Dr. Botchkina gave a lecture on “Novel Target for Anti-Cancer Drug Development: Cancer Stem Cells”, describing how her research group seeks to study the development of specific assays for early noninvasive molecular detection of cancer and the development of cancer stem cell-targeted therapies. Dr. Elizabeth Boon, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, introduced the fourth plenary lecturer, Dr. William DeGrado, Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at University of Pennsylvania and Member of the National Academy of Sciences. He gave a comprehensive and enthusiastic lecture on “Analysis and Design of Membrane Proteins”. Dr. DeGrado enlightened the audience by presenting how his research group studies molecular design as an approach to understanding macromolecule structure and function. His interest in de novo design of proteins has proven to be a useful approach for understanding the characteristics in a protein sequence that causes them to fold into their unique three-dimensional structures. Dr. Roger Johnson, Professor of Biophysics and Physiology, introduced the third SBU invited speaker, Dr. Isaac Carrico, Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Dr. Carrico’s presentation on “A Chemical Approach to Virus Engineering” described how his research group utilizes chemical tools to study fundamental physiological processes and develop novel therapeutics. Finally, Dr. Robert Haltingwager, Professor and Chair of Department of Biochemistry, introduced the fifth plenary lecturer, Dr. Brian Chait, Professor and Director of the Mass Spectrometric Biotechnology Research Resource at the Rockefeller University. Dr. Chait gave an informative and stimulating lecture on “Protein Interactions as a Window into Cellular Function”, outlining his research on the development of biochemical tools, especially mass spectrometry-based tools, for studying protein interactions and its applications to the functional definition of cellular protein assemblies. Dr. Orlando Schärer gave the closing remarks thanking the plenary and invited speakers for their outstanding presentations and Professor Ojima for the success of the 2nd Annual ICB&DD Symposium.


There were 59 papers presented in the Poster Sessions and two posters were selected for the first and second place prizes. The award-winning posters this year were from the research laboratories of Drs. Peter Tonge (Chemistry) and Carlos Simmerling (Chemistry).


The Symposium Dinner at the Chapel of the Charles B. Wang Center culminated the evening of the successful event. Dr. James Staros, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, briefly enlightened the dinner invitees with the historic accomplishments of Stony Brook University from its very beginnings as SUCOLI (Stony Brook University College of Long Island) to what Stony Brook University is now. Dr. Staros congratulated Professor Ojima for his leadership and the successful establishment of the ICB&DD.


The ICB&DD acknowledges the financial support from the Office of the Vice President for Research, School of Medicine Office of Scientific Affairs, Department of Chemistry, OSI Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Forest Research Laboratories, Inc.




ICB&DD would like to welcome Dr. Timothy Kinsellaas Advisory Board Member. Dr. Kinsella is the new Director of the Stony Brook University (SBU) Cancer Center. He came to Stony Brook from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, where he was Chair of Radiation Oncology. He has 30 years of experience in treating cancer patients, conducting cancer research in cancer biology, including the molecular targets of some cancers and the genetic bases of cancers. He has successfully led various university-based cancer programs. He also currently serves as a Member of the Board of Scientific Advisors of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Under his leadership the Stony Brook University Cancer Center,will focus on four major research areas: DNA damage and repair, the role of cancer stem cells, cancer genetics, and developing new cancer treatments. Dr. Kinsella will lead the SBU Cancer Center to continue and expand cancer treatment and research programs, clinical trials, and community outreach with the ultimate goal of establishing the SB Cancer Center as a NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.


ICB&DD would like to welcome Dr. Wen-Tien Chenas a Member. Dr. Chen is a Professor of Medicine/ Division of Neoplastic Diseases and Director, Metastasis Research Laboratory, Stony Brook University Cancer Center. He is also the founder of Vitatex Inc., a Long Island High Tech Incubator (LIHTI) company at Stony Brook. Wen-Tien Chen is a cell biologist whose research focuses on the control of cancer metastasis. His laboratory has developed a functional cell separation method based on invadopodial activity for the isolation of viable circulating tumor cells from blood samples of experimental animals and cancer patients. His extensive experience and expertise in cancer research will be greatly beneficial for the ICB&DD Cancer Research Program.


ICB&DD would like to welcomeDr. Jingfang Juas a Project Member. Dr. Ju is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology and Co-Director of the Translational Research Laboratory at Stony Brook University Medical Center. Dr. Ju’s area of research expertise is in cancer genomics and cancer biomarker discoveries. He uses integrated technology to identify cancer biomarkers and develop them into clinical diagnostics as well as novel anticancer therapeutics. In particular colorectal cancer, osteosarcoma and melanoma. Dr. Ju’s cutting-edge research in cancer genomics and biomarker discoveries adds another level of expertise in an effort to expand the development of therapeutics and diagnostics in cancer research. He will become a valuable member of the ICB&DD Cancer Research Program.


ICB&DD is pleased to announce that 4 recipients of the 2008 TRO Awards from Stony Brook School of Medicine are members of ICB&DD as listed below:


  • Balaji Sitharaman, Ph.D. (PI) Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, "Multifunctional Carbon Nanostructure-based Platforms for Breast Cancer Theragonostics" (Co-Investigators: Kenneth Shroyer, Iwao Ojima).
  • Stanley Zucker, M.D. (PI) Professor, Department of Medicine, "Role of Novel Protein (cerif) in Breast Cancer Metastasis" (Co-Investigators: Kenneth Shroyer).
  • Wen-Tien Chen, M.D. (PI), Research Professor, Department of Medicine, Michael Pearl, M.D. (Co-PI) Professor, Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine, "Detecting Circulating Ovarian Cancer Cells during Treatment".
  • Nicole S. Sampson, Ph.D. (PI) Professor, Department of Chemistry, "Role of fadA5 in M. Tuberculosis Sterol Metabolism.

ICB&DD congratulates Dr. Wei-Xing Zong, the recipient of Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer research grant. Dr. Zong was awarded the grant for his work examining the role of autophagy in breast cancer cell death in response to chemotherapy. The award supports junior scientists exploring new ideas and novel approaches to advance breast cancer research. Dr. Zong was awarded $300,000 for two years, with an option of an additional performance-based award of $150,000 in year three. Susan G. Komen for the Cure is one of the world’s largest breast cancer organizations.


The ICB&DD is pleased to announce the 2nd Annual ICB&DD Symposiumon "Frontiers in Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery" which will be held at the Charles B Wang Center on Friday, October 10, 2008. The ICB&DD Annual Symposium is thematically focused in areas of research interest in drug discovery, chemical and computational biology, cancer and infectious diseases. The Symposium invites renowned scholars as well as the rising stars of Stony Brook University (SBU) in chemical biology and drug discovery to convey their most advanced accomplishments and exchange innovative ideas in biomedical research among speakers, faculty, staff, and students on campus as well as researchers at the Brookhaven National Laboratory and industries in greater NY metropolitan area. The Plenary Lecturers this year are Dr. Brian T. Chait (The Rockefeller University), Dr. William F. DeGrado (University of Pennsylvania, NAS), Dr. John Haley (OSI Pharmaceuticals), Dr. William L. Jorgensen (Yale University) and Dr. Yves Pommier (National Cancer Institute). Invited Lecturers are Galina Botchkina (SBU), Dr. Isaac Carrico (SBU) and Robert Rizzo (SBU). There will be Poster sessions on recently completed and on-going projects conducted in the ICB&DD member's laboratories as well as relevant research laboratories in the area. Once again, we are looking forward to another stimulating and productive symposium! Registration Form.


Stanley ZuckerICB&DD launches its "Cancer Research Program". Dr. Stanley Zucker will serve as the Director of this program. The main goal of this program is the promotion of collaborative research between cancer geneticists/biologists, medicinal chemists, imaging scientists, and medical/clinical oncologists at Stony Brook University and BNL. This program may bring in Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory as well as local pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Through this program, ICB&DD sees promise to acquire Program grants, U01 grants, multi-PI grants, and NYS funding. Currently the program includes Drs. Stanley Zucker (Program Director), Iwao Ojima, Basil Rigas, Maria Ryan, Kenneth Shroyer, Todd Miller, Richard Lin, Howard Crawford, Jian Cao, Galina Botchkina, Wei-Xing Zong, and Balaji Sitharaman.


The ICB&DD Director and Steering Committee are looking forward to the productive development of this new program.


Kenneth ShroyerICB&DD would like to welcome Dr. Kenneth Shroyer as a Member. Dr. Shroyer is the Chairman of the Department of Pathology, School of Medicine. For the past 25 years, he has been involved in the cutting-edge of pathology research focusing on translating discoveries in basic research to clinical application. He is an expert in Surgical and Cytopathology and nationally recognized for translational studies in the development of novel molecular markers for treating cancer. Dr. Shroyer’s research in biomarkers and techniques are useful for the analysis of tumor biomarkers for cancers of gynecological nature and for endocrine and gastroenterology cancers as in thyroid, pancreas, and colon. His extensive experience and expertise in translational research will be beneficial and ideal for the recently launched ICB&DD’s Cancer Research Program.


Stephen WalkerICB&DD would like to welcome Dr. Stephen Walker as a Project Member. Dr. Walker is an Associate Professor in the Department of Oral Biology and Pathology, School of Dental Medicine. His research interest focuses on the cell surface of Gram-negative oral bacteria with an emphasis on the lipopolysaccharide and outer membrane proteins; Attachment of oral bacteria to host cells; anthrax and bio-terrorism; microbial diagnostics. He will become a valuable member of the ICB&DD’s Infectious Diseases Research Program.


Balaji SitharamanICB&DD would like to welcome Dr. Balaji Sitharaman as a Project Member. Dr. Sitharaman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Director of the Multi-Functional Nano & Supramolecular- Biosystems Laboratory, Stony Brook School of Medicine. He is interested in the unique properties of carbon nanobiomaterials to develop Advanced contrast agents (CAs) for molecular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nanocomposites to improve the physical and biological (osteoconduction and osteoinduction) properties of polymer scaffolds for bone tissue engineering and non-viral vectors for gene transfection. He will become a valuable member of the ICB&DD’s Cancer Research Program.


Subramaniam SwaminathanICB&DD would like to welcome Dr. Subramanyam Swaminathan as a Member. Dr. Swaminathan is a Scientist in the Biology Department of Brookhaven National Laboratory. Dr. Swami is a highly established structural biologist and an expert in protein crystallography, especially on the botulinum neurotoxins. His experience and expertise is a valuable asset for the ICB&DD’s Structural Biology as well as Infectious Diseases Research Programs.


ICB&DD Congratulates Elizabeth Boon, the recipient of NYSTAR James D. Watson Young Investigator Award. NYSTAR awarded her $200,000 for her proposal entitled: “H-NOX domains for sensing and delivery of biologically important gas molecules” She has also recently won the ACS PROGRESS/Dreyfus "rising star" Award. Congratulations Professor Elizabeth Boon.




ICB&DD is pleased to announce that the January 2008 issue of Accounts of Chemical Research (ACS) features Professor Ojima as the Guest Editor with a newly designed format including Conspectus, on "Modern Molecular Approaches to Drug Design and Discovery" ( This special thematic issue consists of 15 articles including contributions from Professors Ojima and Tonge as well as Professor Glenn Prestwich (former Chemistry Professor, SBU). Also, an article by Professor Ghosh (Purdue Univ.) was coauthored by a recent SBU Chemistry Ph.D. alumnus, Dr. Bruno Chapsal (Ph.D. 2005, Ojima). Congratulations Professor Ojima.


Centers of Excellence in Chemical Methodologies and Library Development (CMLD) at Stony Brook NIH-NIGMS P50 proposal was submitted.


ICB&DD, (Iwao Ojima, Kaneko Takushi, Kathy Parker, Rob Rizzo, Dale Drueckhammer, Carlos Zimmerling, Jin Wang and Lee Arnold), Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (Derek Tan) and Brookhaven National Laboratory (Subramanyan Swaminathan) have joined together to establish a Center of Chemical Methodologies and Library Development at Stony Brook by recently submitting a proposal for the RFA-GM-08-007, Centers of Excellence in Chemical Methodologies and Library Development (P50). The Chemical Methodologies and Library Development Center at Stony Brook University (CMLD-SBU) will establish a core facility for the synthesis of high-quality chemical libraries, which will be used ultimately in high-throughput biological screening. The library synthesis core facility will validate newly developed methodologies from three project teams for synthesis of chemical diversity libraries and apply newly developed chemical methodologies to the generation of the high purity libraries. The core will store the final libraries and provide samples to the NIH Molecular Small Molecule Repository (10-20 mg per compound). The core will also provide them through members of the biological research community for biological screening. We look forward to the success of the important CMLD application.





























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