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2011 News


eboonICB&DD congratulates Dr. Elizabeth Boon for being selected as a Kavli Fellow. Kavli Fellows are selected by the advisory board of the Kavli Foundation, members of the National Academy of Sciences and organizers of the Kavli/National Academy of Sciences Frontiers in Science Symposia series. Through a highly competitive process, the Kavli Foundation recognizes individuals who have made preeminent contributions to science. Dr. Boon presented her research at the US Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposia. The symposium was held on November 17 at theArnold andMabelBeckmanCenter of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering inIrvine,California. Beginning in 1989, the Frontiers of Science symposium series has provided a forum for the future leaders in U.S. science to share ideas across disciplines and to build contacts and networks that will prove useful as they advance in their careers. More than 4,500 young scientists have attended to date, 136 of whom have been elected to the NAS and eight of whom have been awarded the Nobel Prize.

5th ICB&DD Annual Symposium

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(from left to right) Drs. Peter Tonge, John Gerlt, Celia Schiffer, Carlos Simmerling, Russell Petter, Stephen Frye and Iwao Ojima

  On Friday, October 14, 2011, The ICB&DD hosted its fifth ICB&DD Annual Symposium, “Frontiers in Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery” at the CharlesB.WangCenterat StonyBrookUniversity. The symposium featured seven Plenary Lecturers. Three of them were from StonyBrookUniversity. 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 large participation of students fromStony Brook University,New York University,YaleUniversity, OSI Pharmaceuticals and Brookhaven National Laboratory among others. There were a record number of 85 scientific papers presented at the Poster Session.peter

 Dr. Peter Tonge, Professor and Chair of the Symposium Organizing Committee, opened the Symposium and introduced Dr. Wadie Bahou, Professor of Medicine and Vice Dean for Scientific Affairs, Stony Brook University School of Medicine. Dr. Bahou gave praising remarks about the accomplishments and advances of ICB&DD, made through arduous collaborating efforts among scientists and clinicians. Dr. Tonge OJIMAintroduced Dr. Iwao Ojima, Distinguished Professor and Director of ICB&DD. Dr. Ojima briefly summarized the accomplishments, current and future goals of the ICB&DD.   Dr.Maria Ryan, Professor of Oral Biology and Pathology introduced the first Plenary Lecturer, Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, Dean of theSchool of Medicine and Senior Vice-President of Health Sciences, Stony Brook University.   Dr. Kaushansky gave a lecture entitled “Thrombopoietin: From Cloning to Clinic”. His talk focused on the clinical needs for an agent to stimulate blood platelet production. He presented a clear overview of his research and how to bridge the gap between the laboratory and clinical arena, translating research discoveries into technologies for treatments, prevention and management of disease. Dr. Jian Cao, Associate Professor of Medicine introduced the second Plenary Lecturer, Dr. Johanna Fowler, Director of Biological Imaging, Medical Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory. Dr. Fowler gave a lecture entitled “Imaging Drug Action in the Human Brain”. In her presentation she highlighted applications of selective radiotracers investigate the pharmacokinetics and phamracodynamics of drugs to cmdiagnose the status and consequences of drug abuse in the human brain. Nicole Sampson,Professor of Chemistry, introduced the third Plenary Lecturer, Dr. John Gerlt, Gutgsell Chair, Center for Biophysics and Computational Biology, Departments of Biochemistry and Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Gerlt gave a very stimulating lecture entitled “Discovering and Predicting New Functions in the Enolase Superfamily”. Dr. Gerlt presented the focus of his research on the structural basis of evolution and function in functionally diverse enzymes, including enolase and enoyl CoA hydratase and how he is using probes to identify possible biological roles of enolase using different mechanisms.Dr. Miguel Garcia- Diaz, Assistant Professor of Pharmacological Sicences, com2introduced the fourth Plenary Lecturer, Dr. Stephen Frye, Director, Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery, University of North Carolina). Dr. Frye gave a lecture entitled  “The Role of Academic Drug Discovery and Chemical Biology of Chromatin Regulation”. In his presentation, Dr. Frye briefly reviewed data from a survey of Academic Drug Discovery Centers in the U. S., showing the emerging role of academia in the US biomedical research.  He is the inventor of Avodart, GlaxoSmithKline’s blockbuster drug approved for treatment of benign prostate disease. Dr. Isaac Carrico, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, introduced the fifth Plenary Lecturer, Dr. Russell Petter, Vice-President for Drug Discovery, Avila Therapeutics. Dr. Petter’s lecture was entitled “The Resurgence of Covalent Drugs”. His lecture started with the history and significance of covalent drugs and described the successes and challenges in the design of targeted covalent inhibitors. Dr. Jessica Seeliger, Assistant Professor of       carlosPharmacological Sciences, introduced the sixth Plenary

Lecturer, Dr. Celia Schiffer, Co-Director, Institute of Drug Resistance, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Schiffer gave a lecture entitled “Combating Drug Resistance: Lessons from the Viral Proteases of HIV and HCV”. She described her studies on the molecular basis for drug resistance in HIV and diabetes, and how she developed a new model for avoiding drug resistance. Dr. Robert Rizzo introduced the last Plenary Lecturer, Dr. Carlos Simmerling, Professor of Chemistry and Associate Director, Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative Biology, Stony Brook University. Dr. Simmerling presented a lecture entitled “Using Computer Simulations to Investigate Dynamic Aspects of Inhibitor Binding and Potency”. His very informative lecture provided a comprehensive view of the development of simulation models that are used to study HIV-PR and its validity against crystallographic and solution EPR data. Dr. Tonge 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 5th Annual ICB&DD Symposium.poster 1  There were 85 scientific papers at the Poster Session. The best two posters were selected for the Poster Awards. The award-winning posters this year were one by Suzanne T. Thomasfrom the laboratory of Dr. Nicole Sampson, Department of Chemistry, StonyBrookUniversityand the other one by Eric C. Lai from poster finalthe laboratory of Dr. Carlos Simmerling, Department of Chemistry, Stony Brook University.

The 5th ICB&DD Symposium culminated with a splendid dinner at the Chapel of the Charles B. Wang Center. Among other attendees were Dr. Kenneth Shroyer (Chairman, Department of Pathology, SOM), Dr. Michael Frohman (Chairman, Department of Pharmacological Sciences, SOM), Dr. Kenneth Dill (Director, Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative Biology) and Dr. John Haley (Senior Research Director, OSI Pharmaceuticals). symp taxo ojThey expressed their appreciation for the outstanding lectures presented at the Symposium and also acknowledged the importance of ICB&DD’s collaborative efforts among academia and industry. They all congratulated Professor Ojima for his numerous contributions and successful leadership of the ICB&DD. Lastly, Dr. Peter Tonge expressed his appreciation for the success of five consecutive symposia at its 5th year anniversary and congratulated Professor Ojima with a beautiful custom-made crystal model of Dr. Ojima’s omega-3-fatty acid–taxoid conjugate under development.

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,AvilaTherapeutics,ForestLaboratories Inc. and Chem-Master International, Inc.  ojima table

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    5th Annual ICB&DD Symposium

"Frontiers in Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery"

 The ICB&DD is pleased to announce the 5th ICB&DD Annual Symposium on "Frontiers in Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery" which will be held at the Charles B. Wang Center on Friday October 14, 2011 (9:30am – 6:30PM; Reception 5:20-6:30PM). The ICB&DD Annual Symposium is thematically focused on 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) 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 the greater NY metropolitan area.  The Plenary Lecturers this year are:Dr. Johanna Fowler (Director of Biological Imaging, Medical Dept, Brookhaven National Laboratory), Dr. Stephen V. Frye (Director, Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery, University of North Carolina), Dr. John Gerlt (Gutgsell Chair, Center for Biophysics and Computational Biology, Depts of Biochemistry and Chemistry,University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Dr. Deborah Hung (Center for Computational and Integrative Biology, and Dept of Molecular Biology, Mass General Hospital; Dept of Microbiology and Immunobiology, Harvard Medical School; Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University), Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky (DeanSchool of Medicine and Senior Vice-President of Health Sciences, Stony Brook University), Dr. Russell Petter (Vice-President Drug Discovery, Avila Therapeutics), Dr. Celia Schiffer (Co-Director Institute of Drug Resistance, Dept of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School) and Dr. Carlos Simmerling (Associate Director, Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative Biology, Dept of Chemistry, Stony Brook University). 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. We are looking forward to another stimulating and productive symposium!

jonathan rudickICB&DD would like to welcome Dr. Jonathan Rudick as a new Project Member. Dr. Rudick is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry. The major aims of Dr. Rudick's research is to create nanostructures whose functions arise through precise three-dimensional structure. His approach relies on both chemical synthesis and self-assembly. Rigorous characterization of both structure and function are used to inform future design of macromolecules and supramolecular assemblies to meet challenges in nanoscience, biotechnology, and chemical biology. Dr. Rudick received his Ph.D in Chemistry (2005) from University of Penssylvania (Advisor, Dr. William F. DeGrado). He was also the recipient of a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Research Service Award, National Institutes of Health (2007 – 2010). He worked as a Scientist at Procter & Gamble (2005-2007). Dr. Rudick will be an excellent addition to cancer and infectious diseases research programs, as well as chemical biology training program.

ICB&DD is pleased to announce that 5 recipients of the 2010/2011 TRO Awards from Stony Brook School of Medicine are members of ICB&DD, as listed below:

  • Nicole Sampson, Ph.D., Professor, and Kathlyn Parker, Professor, Department of Chemistry. “Mt1-MMP-drug conjugates to treat invasive breast cancer”. (Carol M. Baldwin Award).
  • Emily Chen Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Kenneth Shroyer, MD., Professor and Chair, Department of Pathology and Wei Zhu, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics. “Using Metastatic Breast Cancer Stem Cells to Predict the Risk of Recurrence and Metastasis in Breast Cancer Patients”. (Carol M. Baldwin Award).
  • Dale Deutsch, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Iwao Ojima, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Department of Chemistry and Huilin Li, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry. "Development of Endocannabinoid transport Inhibitors”. (FUSION Award).
  • Jessica C. Seeliger, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Peter Tonge, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Chemistry. “Chemical Tools to Explore Drug Targets in M. Tuberculosis. (FUSION Award).
  • Robert Rizzo, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics. “Targeted Molecular Design of Dual Kinase Inhibitors for Breast Cancer”. (Walk for Beauty Award).

angeloICB&DD would like to welcome Dr. Angelo H. Gunasekera as a Project Member. Dr. Gunasekera is the Director of research and development at Chembio Diagnostics INC. Dr.Angelo Gunasekera’s group focuses on the development of point-of-care (POC) diagnostic assays for human diseases using the patented Dual Path Platform (DPPTM) and other state-of-the art diagnostic assays. Dr. Gunasekera has more than 17 years of experience as a protein engineer in industry and academia. He received his BSc (Honors) degree from the Chemistry department at University of Colombo in Sri Lanka and a PhD in Chemical Biology from Rutgers (New Brunswick, NJ). He completed his post-doctoral training at Princeton University and the University of California mastering in antibody engineering. He joined Abbott Laboratories as a bench scientist in 1995 and became the group leader in Cancer exploratory group in the pharmaceutical product division. At Abbott, he developed a new high-throughput cloning and expression system for expressing multiple drug targets in E.coli and baculoviral expression system and became an expert in protein expression and purification of drug targets and antibody therapeutic targets in multiple organisms (E.coli, pichia/yeast, baculovirus and mammalian systems). In 2005 he joined OSI Pharmaceuticals and oversaw the protein biochemistry department supporting high-throughput screening for cancer discovery. In 2010 he joined Chembio diagnostics as the director of research and development. Dr. Angelo Gunasekera will be an excellent addition to ICB&DD, especially for its Structural Biology Program, Infectious Diseases Program as well as Cancer Research Programs

garciaICB&DD would like to welcome Dr. Miguel Garcia Diaz as a Project Member. Dr. Garcia Diaz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacological Sciences, SBU School of Medicine. Dr. Garcia Diaz’s laboratory utilizes a combination of structural (mainly x-ray crystallography), biochemical and genetic approaches to understand the molecular details of different nucleic acid processing pathways. This information is then used to characterize how these pathways are affected by DNA damage and other environmental exposures, and ultimately to understand how alterations in normal nucleic acid biology can result in human disease. Dr. Garcia Diaz received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry (2003) from University Autonoma, Mardrid, Spain. Previous to joining the department of Pharmacological Sciences (2007), he performed postdoctoral research at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (2003-2007). Dr. Garcia Diazwill be an excellent addition to ICB&DD, especially for its Structural Biology Program. 

IjessicaCB&DD would like to welcome Dr. Jessica Seeliger as a Project Member. Dr. Seeliger is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacological Sciences, SBU School of Medicine. The human pathogen M. tuberculosis generates many structurally complex and unusual lipids that have received little molecular-level scrutiny in the membrane context.  Her laboratory is pursuing two major questions that address these issues in M. tuberculosis and other bacteria:  How are bacterial lipid membranes synthesized and assembled?  How do unique bacterial lipids affect membrane properties?  Her goal is to understand how bacterial pathogens exploit membrane structure and composition to interact with and subvert the host environment. Dr. Seeliger received her Ph.D. from Stanford University (2007) and completed her postdoctoral training at UC, Berkley (2010) before joining the Department of Pharmacological Sciences at Stony Brook. She will be an excellent addition to the Infectious Diseases Research Program, especially on TB drug discovery.

haojieICB&DD would like to welcome Dr. Haojie Huang as a Project Member. Dr. Huang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology, SBU School of Medicine. The research focus of Dr. Huang’s lab is to characterize the normal functions of biologically important transcription factors (e.g. forkhead box O (FOXO), androgen receptor (AR), Klf4, Sox2 and Oct3/4) and cofactors (e.g. CBP and p300) as well as chromatin regulators (e.g. Polycomb group (PcG) protein EZH2) and to understand how the potent functions of these factors are regulated under physiological and pathological conditions by various mechanisms, including protein phosphorylation, acetylation, ubiquitination, and protein-protein interaction. His research group is also interested in determining what roles the regulation and function of these factors may play in the determination of cell fates, such as self-renewal or differentiation of embryonic stem cells (ESC) and cancer stem cells (CSC), cell transformation and malignancy. Dr. Huang’s laboratory currently use both cell culture and mouse models to investigate the functions of these factors in development and progression of cancer (particularly in the prostate), epigenetic programming/reprogramming, and induction of pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Before joining the Department of Pathology (2010), Dr. Huang was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Minnesota, where he built a major federally-funded research program that is focused on the molecular pathogenesis of prostate cancer metastases to bone. Dr. Huang will be an excellent addition to ICB&DD Cancer Research Program.

deutschICB&DD would like to welcome Dr. Dale Deutsch as a Project Member. Dr. Deutsch is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology. Dr. Deutsch’s research focuses on the metabolism of the endocannabinoids, anandamide and 2-AG. Anandamide and 2-AG are endogenous compound that binds to the cannabinoid receptor as does THC, the active component of marijuana. Anandamide and 2-AG are very important neurotransmitter since they affects mood, memory, pain, appetite, response to stress, and many other physiological processes. He described the enzyme in the brain that hydrolyzes anandamide in 1993. It is now called FAAH, an abbreviation for the fatty acid amide hydrolase. Over the years Dr. Deutsch has undertaken basic research to understand how FAAH works to regulate anandamide levels. With the long-term goal of developing drugs to regulate the endocannabinoids, he is studying the mechanism by which anandamide is inactivated. Dr. Deutsch will be an excellent addition to ICB&DD for expanding its research areas to “Pain Control/management”.


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Phone: 631.632.1311 * Fax: 631.632.7942  Email: 
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