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Three MBS Faculty Receive Named Professorships, Chair

The Department of Molecular Biosciences is celebrating three professors who recently received honors in the form of named professorships and chairs. To celebrate their appointments MBS has scheduled zoom seminars by each of the new endowment holders. Harshey, Huibregtse and Payne will speak during the MBS Fall 2020 seminar series (listed below).

Photo of Rasika HarsheyRasika Harshey is now the Lorene Morrow Kelley Professor of Microbiology

Seminar date: December 9th, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.

 

 

Photo of Jon Huibregtse


Jon Huibregtse
is now the Benjamin Clayton Centennial Professor of Biochemistry

Seminar date: November 18th, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.

 

Photo of Shelley Payne



Shelley Payne
is now the Marie Betzner Morrow Centennial Chair

Seminar date: October 28, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.

 

 

 

Congratulations!  

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UT Bioscientist Receives Antiviral Research Award

Jason McLellan, molecular bioscience associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin, was the 2020 recipient of the William Prusoff Memorial Award from the International Society for Antiviral Research, which honors a young scientist who has shown excellence in antiviral research and promise for future contributions to the field. 

McLellan’s research focuses on the structure of certain proteins as infections progress, which informs the development of medicine used to treat disease. One of his research interests focuses on human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which is a virus causing severe lower respiratory tract infections, particularly in young children and the elderly. A certain part of RSV, called the F protein, changes shape during an infection. If the immune system encounters the F protein in this altered shape, the antibodies it produces are less effective than when the F protein is in its pre-infection shape. Using a structure-based approach, McLellan engineered the F protein to take away its shapeshifting ability and in turn allow the body to produce more effective antibodies in response. 

McLellan previously received the Etter Early Career award from the American Crystallographic Association in 2017 and the 2019 Viruses Young Investigator in Virology Prize for his work on RSV. 

McLellan graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in chemistry, and earned his Ph.D. from the John Hopkins University School of Medicine. He joined the biochemistry department at Dartmouth Medical School, and in 2018 moved his lab to the University of Texas at Austin, where he became an associate professor in the department of molecular biosciences. 

Georgiou Honored with Chemical Engineering Literature Prize

George Georgiou, a professor in the Departments of Molecular Biosciences, Chemical Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, received the William H. Walker Award for Excellence in Contributions to Chemical Engineering Literature at the annual American Institute of Chemical Engineers meeting this month.

The award is given to a member who has made an outstanding contribution to chemical engineering literature which is of interest and importance to the chemical engineering profession. 

Georgiou’s research focuses on the development and discovery of protein therapeutics, which are proteins engineered in a laboratory for pharmaceutical use to supplement essential proteins for a variety of purposes like insulin for diabetes and erythropoietin for anemia. These proteins can be used in vivo (that is, on living organisms) rather than tissue samples for testing, which allows scientists to see the overall effects of an experiment on a living subject.

Georgiou graduated with his doctorate in chemical engineering from Cornell University in 1987. After coming to UT Austin as an assistant professor of chemical engineering in 1986, Georgiou became a professor in chemical and biomedical engineering, and in molecular biosciences, and served on various chairs for the University. Georgio currently serves as a Dula D. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering.

Among his many honors, he was elected to the National Academy of Inventors (2015), American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2015) and the National Academy of Medicine (2011). He was also named UT Austin’s Inventor of the Year in 2014.

Dr. Ilya Finkelstein Selected for Awards

Dr. Ilya Finkelstein, an assistant professor in the department of molecular biosciences, has been selected as a Fellow by the American Federation for Aging Research. More can be found here.

Dr. Finkelstein also was awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER Award. CAREER awards are intended to recognize promising young faculty and support their research with five years of funding. Learn more here.

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Dr. Stanley Roux Elected As American Association For The Advancement Of Science Fellow

Stanley Roux, professor of molecular biosciences in the College of Natural Sciences, is among five faculty members at The University of Texas at Austin who have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS fellows are chosen annually by their peers to recognize their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

Roux was recognized for his innovative experiments to elucidate the key role of extracellular nucleotides and apyrase enzymes in regulating plant growth and development. Roux is a Distinguished Teaching Professor who has received funding from the NSF and NASA for his research on how the environmental stimuli of light and gravity alter patterns of growth and development in plants.

 Four other fellows were also elected from the University of Texas at Austin. Learn more here.

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Dr. Marvin Hackert elected president of the International Union of Crystallography

Dr. Marvin Hackert was recently elected president of the International Union of Crystallography. The objectives of the union are "...to promote international cooperation in crystallography and to contribute to all aspects of crystallography, to promote international publication of crystallographic research, to facilitate standardization of methods, units, nomenclatures and symbols, and to form a focus for the relations of crystallography to other sciences." Congratulations, Dr. Hackert!

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Dr. Andrew Ellington, Dr. Stephen Trent, & Dr. Marvin Whiteley Elected 2014 AAM Academy Fellows

Congratulations to Dr. Marvin Whiteley, Dr. Stephen Tent, & Dr. Andrew Ellington for being elected 2014 American Academy for Microbiology Fellows. Fellows of the American Academy for Microbiology are elected annually through a highly selective, peer-review process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology. There are over 2,400 Fellows representing all subspecialties of microbiology, including basic and applied research, teaching, public health, industry, and government service. The new Fellows are as follows:

 

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Dr. Yan Jessie Zhang receives Etter award

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Congratulations to Dr. Yan Jessie Zhang, an Assistant Professor in MBS, for receiving the Margaret C. Etter Early Career Award. The award recognizes outstanding achievement and exceptional potential in crystallographic research demonstrated by a scientist at an early stage of their independent career. One awardee who obtained his/her PhD within the last 12 years is chosen from academia, industry or government laboratories within United States. Dr. Yan Jessie Zhang is invited to present her work in the Annual Meeting of American Crystallographic Association for 2015 in Philadelphia, PA.

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Sara Sawyer receives Omenn Prize

Congratulations to Dr. Sara Sawyer and Dr. Ann Demogines, who received the Omenn Prize for the Best Evolution Paper of 2013. The prize is for their paper appearing in PLOS Biology entitled "Dual Host-Virus Arms Races Shape an Essential Housekeeping Protein.". This study was led by Dr. Ann Demogines, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Sawyer's laboratory and was also featured in the "Editors Choice" section of Science. The award comes with a prize of $5,000 for Dr. Demogines. 

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Andy Ellington Receives President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award

Andy Ellington Receives President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award

Congratulations to Dr. Andy Ellington, who received the President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award. The President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award recognizes innovative, excellent teaching in undergraduate education in the core curriculum.

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MBS-graduation-flickrMBS Graduates 2014