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2009 News

seeleger photoICB&DD would like to welcome Dr. Markus Seeliger as a Project Member. Dr. Seeliger is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacological Sciences, SBU School of Medicine. Dr. Seeliger’s current focus is on the structure and dynamics of protein kinases (e.g., Src and Abl) relevant to the drug-kinase interactions (e.g., Gleevec with BCR-Abl) based on NMR in addition to protein X-ray structural analysis. Dr. Seeliger will be an excellent addition to ICB&DD, especially for its Structural Biology and Cancer Research Programs.

  vern schrammICB&DD would like to welcome Dr. Vern Shramm as Advisory Board Member. Dr. Schramm is a Professor and Ruth Merns Chair of Biochemistry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University and a Member of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Schramm has been a member of the Einstein faculty since 1987. Throughout his career, he has carried out groundbreaking research into the mechanisms involved in enzymatic reactions. His work has led to promising drugs now being tested in clinical trials for treating autoimmune diseases and several types of cancer. One such inhibitor that Dr. Schramm designed, known as Immucillin-H, is a promising anticancer agent for treating T-cell malignancies and it is currently in a pivotal phase IIb clinical trial (specifically targeted to study efficacy) at sites in the U.S., Eastern and Western Europe, and South America. Another transition-state inhibitor developed by Dr. Schramm is now being studied as a possible treatment for autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel disorders and for preventing the rejection of transplanted organs. Dr. Schramm has contributed more than 35 years as a biochemist, researcher and teacher.

Jorge Benach photoICB&DD would like to welcome Dr. Jorge Benach as Advisory Board Member. Dr. Benach is a Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, SBU School of Medicine, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. He is also the Director of the Center for Infectious Diseases. He has been faculty at Stony Brook University for 30 years. Dr. Benach is the co-discoverer of the Lyme disease spirochete as he brought recognition to the School of Medicine in 1984 when he made the landmark discovery of the organism that causes Lyme disease. Recently, Dr Benach and his colleagues have begun to investigate organisms that could be used for bioterrorism attacks. He is the Principal Investigator of a Project Program Grant (PPG) on the class A pathogens from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID, NIH). This PPG started in 2004 and $23 M in total to date. Dr. Benach is a Fulbright Scholar and a member of the Advisory Allergy and Infectious Diseases Council of NIH.

ICB&DD Members received "Distinguished Faculty Inventor" recognition

Congratulations Drs. Wen-Tien Chen and Iwao Ojima for being recognized among the 12 "Distinguished Faculty Inventors" at the STAR Center Grant Opening Ceremony at the Wang Center this past September. Dr. Chen’s and his team developed a blood test technology (Vita-AssaysTM and Vita-CapTM) that could be the diagnostic tool that allows earlier disease diagnosis and also helps oncologist assess the efficacy of cancer therapies during treatment. Dr. Chen and his team have also developed and patented several therapeutic monoclonal antibodies for anticancer therapy. Dr. Ojima’s research has focused on developing second-generation, more effective derivative of taxol and novel delivery systems. He has 150 patents and patent applications. Two of his inventions have already been licensed to Sanofi-Aventis and Indena Pharmaceuticals.

ICB&DD is pleased to announce that 4 recipients of the 2009 TRO Awards from Stony Brook School of Medicine are members of ICB&DD as listed below:

  • Jian Cao, M.D., Research Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Nicole Sampson, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Chemistry. “Targeting Metastatic Breast Cancer Stem Cell Invasion"
  • Wei-Xing Zong, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. “Study of SCCA1 as a Novel Cell Death Regulator in Breast Cancer"
  • Peter Tonge, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Chemistry, Roy Steigbigel, M.D., Professor, Department of Medicine, Jacob Hooker, Ph.D, Scientist and Joanna Fowler, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Medical Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory. "Imaging Bacteria in Humans using Positron Emission Tomography"
  • Kenneth Shroyer, M.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Pathology and Emily Chen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology. “Identifying Biomarkers for Pre-malignant and Invasive Cervical Cancer”.

3rd ICB&DD Annual Symposium

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(From left to right: Drs. Iwao Ojima, John Koh, William Greenlee, Robert Haltiwanger, Charles Serhan, Daniel Raleigh, Stewart Fisher, Philip Low and Nicole Sampson)

On Tuesday, October 6, 2009, The ICB&DD hosted its third ICB&DD Annual Symposium, “Frontiers in Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery” at the Charles B. Wang Center at Stony Brook University. The symposium featured five distinguished Plenary Lecturers and three Invited Speakers 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 Brookhaven National Laboratory, universities and industries in the greater NY metropolitan area. The Poster Session equally attracted a broad participation of students from Stony Brook University, Yale University, Rockefeller University, OSI Pharmaceuticals among others. There were 80 papers presented at the Poster Session. Dr. Nicole Sampson, Professor and Chair of the Symposium Organizing Committee, opened the Symposium and introduced Dr. Iwao Ojima, DistinguishSymp 09 photosed Professor and Director of ICB&DD. Dr. Ojima briefly summarized the accomplishments, current and future goals of the ICB&DD. Dr. Stephen Walker, Associate Professor of Oral Biology and Pathology, introduced the first Plenary Lecturer, Dr. Stewart L. Fisher, Principal Scientist II, Division of Cancer and Infection Research, AstraZeneca R&D Boston. Dr. Fisher gave his lecture on "Helicobacter pylori Glutamate Racemase: A Druggable Target" providing an ample view of his research on helicobacter pylori as proven to be the single cause of gastric cancer. Dr. Maria Ryan, Professor of Oral Biology and Pathology, proudly introduced the second Plenary Lecturer, Dr. Charles N. Serhan, Professor of Anesthesia, Harvard Medical School and Director of Center for Experimental Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury, Brigham and Women's Hospital, who is a Stony Brook University alumnus. Dr. Serhan’s presentation on “Systems Approach to Inflammation-Resolution Identifies a Novel Genus of Endogenous Anti-Inflammatory and Pro-Resolving Mediators” was highly stimulating, highlighting his discoveries on structures and actions of aspirin-triggered lipid mediators, the resolvins and most recently the maresins, as each represents novel families of endogenous mediators. Dr. Elizabeth Boon, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, introduced the first Invited Speaker, Dr. James Bliska, Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. Dr. Bliska gave a lecture entitled “Regulation of Macrophage Cell Death Pathways by a Bacterial Acetyltransferase”. Dr. Bliska’s research is well recognized for making a number of seminal discoveries on the role of the type III secretion N Sampson 2009 Sympsystem in regulating host cell signaling pathways, and has developed numerous methods, strains, and reagents widely used in the field. Dr. David Green, Assistant Professor of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, introduced the third Plenary Lecturer, Dr. John T. Koh, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Delaware. Dr. Koh’s lecture was on “Chemical Rescue of Mutant Nuclear Receptors”. He described how mutant-specific hormone analogs have been developed to provide useful tools for the independent regulation of gene function. Recent studies have shown that various strategies can be used to evade anti-androgen resistance associated with AR mutations in prostate cancer. The research in Dr. Koh’s group focuses on the rational molecular design and synthesis of molecules which can serve to address important biological and biomedical problems. Dr. Emily Chen, Assistant Professor of Pharmacological Sciences, introduced the second Invited Speaker, Dr. Robert Haltiwanger, Professor and Chairman, Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology. Dr. Haltiwanger gave lecture entitled “Role of Glycosylation in Signaling and Development”. He presented his research on this relatively new field, termed "Glycobiology", which has grown rapidly with the realization that glycoconjugates play important roles in nearly all aspects of metazoan biology. Dr. Jian Cao, Assistant Professor of Department of Medicine, introduced the fourth Plenary Lecturer, Dr. Philip Low, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Purdue University. Dr. Low presented his lecture on “Ligand-targeted Therapeutic and Imaging Agents for Cancer and Inflammatory Diseases”. Dr. Low’s highly articulate and stimulating lecture provided a comprehensive view of the major areas of his research, which include (i) Design and synthesis of receptor-targeted imaging and therapeutic agents for cancer, infectious and inflammatory diseases, (ii) Design and construction of chip-based systems for rapid detection and identification of human pathogens and (iii) Elucidation of the molecular architecture of the human erythrocyte membrane. Dr. Carlos Simmerling, Professor of Chemistry, introduced the third Invited Speaker, Dr. Daniel Raleigh, Professor of Chemistry. Dr. Raleigh gave a lecture entitled “What Happens When Protein Folding Goes Wrong”. Dr. Raleigh’s work focuses on the role of protein aggregation in human disease and in islet cell transplantation, protein folding, the regulation of mutlidomain signaling proteins and protein design. Dr. Kathy Parker, Professor of Chemistry, introduced the fifth Plenary Lecturer, Dr. William Greenlee, Vice President, CNS and Cardiovascular Chemical Research, Schering-Plough Research Institute. Dr. Greenlee presented his work on “The Discovery of Drug Candidates for Treatment of Cardiovascular and CNS Diseases”. He described the recent critical advances made in the design and synthesis of potential drug candidates for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, obesity, diabetes, thrombosis and chronic pain.

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Dr. Sampson gave the closing remarks thanking the Plenary Lecturers and Invited Speakers for their outstanding presentations as well as enthusiastic participants for the success of the 3rd Annual ICB&DD Symposium. There were 80 papers presented at the Poster Session. The best two posters were selected for the Poster Awards. The award-winning posters this year were by Nadia A. Rana from the laboratories of Dr. Robert Haltiwanger (Biohemistry) and by Humeyra Taskent from Dr. Daniel Raleigh (Chemistry). The 3rd ICB&DD Symposium culminated with a splendid dinner at the Chapel of the Charles B. Wang Center. Among other attendees were Drs. Gail Habicht (Vice President for Research), Wadie Bahou (Vice-Dean for Scientific Affairs, School of Medicine) and Benjamin Hsiao (Chair, Chemistry Department), who expressed their appreciation for the outstanding lectures presented at the Symposium. 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, OSI Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Chem-Master International, Inc.

ICB&DD congratulates Dr. Elizabeth Boon, the recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). She was awarded $200,000 of funding, for up to five years, for her research on bacterial biofilms. Dr. Boon’s research focuses on bacterial biofilms, which are communities of bacteria that live on surfaces. Once a group of bacteria have established a biofilm, they are very difficult to kill, even with the most powerful antibacterial agents. These films can form on nearly any surface including teeth, tissue, metal, rock, plastic, wood, etc. Therefore biofilms are a concern in military, public health, and environmental sectors. The aim of this research is to show how nitric oxide plays a role in bacterial biofilm formation and degradation. This type of research would allow scientists to manipulate these films to better protect everything from cargo ships to severe wounds. The Presidential Award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. Dr. Boon has also been invited to the White House to receive her award from President Obama in the fall this year.

 3rd ICB&DD Annual Symposium
“Frontiers in Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery”

 The ICB&DD is pleased to announce the 3rd ICB&DD Annual Symposiumon "Frontiers in Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery" which will be held at the Charles B. Wang Center on Tuesday, October 6, 2009 (9:30am – 6:30PM; Reception 5:20-6:30PM). 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 highly-recognized researchers of Stony Brook University (SBU) 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. Stewart L. Fisher (AstraZeneca R&D Boston) Dr. William J. Greenlee (Schering-Plough Research Institute), Dr. John T. Koh (University of Delaware), Dr. Philip S. Low (Purdue University), Dr. Charles N. Serhan (Harvard University). Invited Lecturers are: James Bliska (SBU), Dr. Robert Haltiwanger (SBU) and Daniel Raleigh (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.


ICB&DD would like to welcome Dr. Emily Chenas a Project Member. Dr. Chen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacological Sciences, Stony Brook University School of Medicine. Dr. Chen’s area of research expertise is Breast Cancer Metastasis & Shotgun Proteomics. Her research focuses on understanding the pathogenesis of breast cancer metastasis by identifying relevant proteins that are involved in organ specificity. She believes that protein expression profiles in breast cancer cells capable of organ-specific metastasis can be used to distinguish organ specificity among breast cancer cells, and that the differentially regulated proteins contribute to colonization of or survival within the individual target tissues. She will become a valuable member of the ICB&DD Cancer Research Program.


ICB&DD would like to welcome Dr. Paul Binghamas a Member. Dr. Bingham is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Stony Brook University School of Medicine. He is a world renowned molecular biologist who has made important contributions in molecular biology including the discovery, as part of a collaborative team, of the parasitic DNA sequence element, the P element transposon. A crucial discovery that allowed biologists to probe how genes build animals by enabling a widely used strategy still used today for retrieving genes from animals. He also serves as Vice President for CornerStone Pharmaceuticals, a firm developing cancer therapies. Dr. Bingham’s research resulted in the development of the lead product from a new class of agents called Altered Energy Metabolism (AEMD). These compounds target the energy metabolism of cancer cells. AEMD has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for evaluation in Phase I/II clinical trials to treat cancer. Dr. Bingham’s expertise in cancer biology will be greatly beneficial for the ICB&DD Cancer Research Program.





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