2013 Archived Content
Lawrence J. De Lucas, Ph.D., Director, Center for Macromolecular Crystallography (CMC), University of Alabama, Birmingham
Dr. DeLucas is the Director of the Center for Biophysical Sciences and Engineering at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Director and Senior Scientist in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center X-ray Crystallography and Analysis Facility. He is a Professor in the Schools of Optometry, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Physiology & Biophysics. Dr. Delucas was also most notably, selected by NASA as a Flight Payload Specialist. After seven years of scientific and crew training, He flew on the Space Shuttle, Columbia for STS-50, the United States Microgravity Laboratory-1 (USML-1) Spacelab mission launched from June 25-July 9, 1992, and was the longest space shuttle mission at that time (14 days). At mission conclusion, Dr. DeLucas had traveled over 5.7 million miles in 221 Earth orbits, and had logged over 331 hours in space. Today, Dr. DeLucas’ research focuses heavily on structure based drug discovery, the development of enabling technology and pioneering new methods for the validation of membrane protein drug targets. He has published over 134 scientific peer reviewed research articles, authored one book on Membrane Proteins, co-authored 2 books on protein crystal growth and is an inventor for over 25 patents involving protein crystal growth, new chemical compositions for drug targets, protein engineering and other areas related to structure based drug discovery.
Heping Cao, Ph.D., Principal Research Scientist, Southern Regional Research Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Dr. Heping Cao is a Principal Research Scientist at the Southern Regional Research Center of the US Department of Agriculture in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was a Research Biologist at the Human Nutrition Research Center of the US Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Maryland, and a Research Fellow at the National Institutes of Health of the US Department of Health and Human Services in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. He earned his PhD degree from the Pennsylvania State University. His research interests and training are focused primarily on characterizing protein structure and function and unraveling their complex physical and regulatory relationships following a post-genomic approach. Dr. Cao has extensive experience in protein expression, purification, characterization, and proteomics. He has expressed, purified and characterized a number of tagged and native proteins from mammals, plants, bacteria and yeast. This includes work with soluble and membrane-bound proteins involved in signal transduction and metabolic pathways. He has expertise in clean-up and further purification using affinity and conventional chromatographic procedures. He has also demonstrated competency in the subsequent characterization and utilization of purified proteins including antibody production, biological activity assays, and structural analyses. Dr. Cao has used multiple mass spectrometry methods in his research, including matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, and multidimensional protein identification technology. Dr. Cao has published extensively in these research areas. He was invited to review grant proposals and manuscripts for 44 scientific journals.
David W. Wood, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, The Ohio State University
David Wood is an Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The Ohio State University. He received his undergraduate degree from Caltech in 1990 with a double major in Chemical Engineering and Molecular Biology. He then spent one year working in large-scale bioprocess development, followed by two years at Amgen in Neupogen® manufacturing. After this, he returned for his PhD at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was co-advised by Georges and Marlene Belfort. He completed his PhD in 2001 and joined the faculty at Princeton University, where he continued his work in protein engineering and bioprocess design, and eventually developed a series of protein purification methods based on self-cleaving tags. During his time at Princeton, he received the NSF Career Award, as well as two patents on intein-based technologies. His work on protein purification and biosensingis continuing at Ohio State University, and has been funded by the NSF, NIH, US Army, and a variety of private companies and foundations.
Carissa Young, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Delaware Biotechnology Institute, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Delaware
Carissa Young obtained her Ph.D. from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware. Her research aims include the evaluation of cellular quality control mechanisms in the model eukaryote, S. cerevisiae, by monitoring molecular interactions, protein trafficking, organelle dynamics and biogenesis. As a direct consequence of an interdisciplinary approach, the elucidation of these mechanisms has profound implications in diverse scientific fields including cell physiology, disease pathology, and heterologous protein expression. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the NSF IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education & Research Traineeship) Fellowship and Addgene’s 2010 Innovation Award for Recombinant DNA Technology. Prior to joining the Ph.D. program at the University of Delaware, Carissa was employed as a process engineer at Johnson & Johnson, and taught middle/high school students in STEM fields while an adjunct professor at Georgia Military College. Carissa received her Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from The Georgia Institute of Technology and is currently a research scientist at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute.
Alexey Veraksa, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Biology, College of Science & Mathematics, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Dr. Veraksa received his undergraduate degree from Moscow State University (MGU), Russia, and did his Ph.D. research at the University of California, San Diego. As a postdoctoral fellow, he worked at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center at Harvard Medical School in Boston. He is currently Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Dr. Veraksa’s laboratory studies signaling networks in Drosophila development, with a focus on dynamic protein-protein interactions that control developmental signaling pathways. Part of his research efforts is devoted to isolating and characterizing protein complexes involved in signal transduction. Dr. Veraksa has considerable expertise in affinity purification-mass spectrometry (AP-MS) approaches, and his lab is now developing improved methods to analyze protein interactions. A unique strength of Dr. Veraksa’s approach lies in the integration of proteomics methods with an immediate functional validation carried out in the same laboratory.
Patrick Diederich, Ph.D., Scientist, Institute of Process Engineering in Life Science, University of Karlsruhe
I completed my studies of Bioprocess Engineering at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in 2008. The final thesis was supervised by Prof. J. Hubbuch dealing with high throughput chromatography experimentation and genetic algorithms. Studies in the field of biopharmaceutical downstream processing were intensified during my PhD work in the same group at the Institute of Biomolecular Separation Engineering in Karlsruhe. Throughout my work, I gained detailed knowledge in protein separation using miniaturized column chromatography as well as screening techniques for aqueous two phase separation and protein precipitation. Special interest lies in the characterization of small scale experiments performed on liquid handling stations as well as its error analysis. Including the development and evaluation of fast analytical techniques, the results of my work contribute to a realistic picture of the true potential of “high throughput process development” (HTPD) and its limitations.
Stephen Nakazawa Hewitt, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Department of Medicine, Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine, University of Washington
Steve is a research scientist at the University of Washington where he is currently head of the Bioreactor Core Facility. This group has been primarily responsible for producing 1000’s of recombinant proteins for two large structural genomics projects: Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Disease (SSGCID) and Medicinal Structural Genomics of Pathogenic Protozoa (MSGPP). In addition to optimizing approaches for the production, expression and purification of recombinant proteins, Steve is also involved in developing rescue strategies for high value targets in the pipeline.
Beyond his scientific pursuits, Steve is keenly interested in science communication and information graphics. He received graduate degrees from Oregon State University and University of California Santa Cruz before working at Santa Cruz Biotechnology then joining the University of Washington.
Andrew L. Zydney, Ph.D., Department Head and Walter L. Robb Family Endowed Chair, Chemical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University
Dr. Andrew L. Zydney is currently Department Head and Walter L. Robb Family Endowed Chair in the Department of Chemical Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University. Professor Zydney received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from M.I.T. in 1985, and he was a faculty member in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Delaware from 1985 - 2001. Professor Zydney's research is focused on membrane science and technology, with a particular emphasis on bioseparations and the purification of high value biological products. He has published more than 150 articles on these topics, including invited contributions to the Encyclopedia of Bioprocess Technology and the Handbook of Biomedical Engineering. Professor Zydney is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Membrane Science, and he serves on the Editorial Boards for Separation and Purification Reviews, Separation Science and Technology, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, and Biotechnology and Bioengineering. He served as President of the North American Membrane Society in 2002 - 2003, he is a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers (AIMBE) and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), he received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Delaware in 1994, and he is a past recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award (1999) and the Outstanding Young Faculty Award (1990) from the American Society of Engineering Education.
William Ward, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Microbiology, Rutgers University
After 47 years in the lab, Dr. Bill Ward has become a world expert on the physical and chemical properties (and applications) of GFP and the practice of protein purification. On the faculty of Rutgers University for 35 years, Dr. Ward has published widely on these subjects. He created and administered three international symposia on GFP and, in 2003, founded the biotech company, Brigher Ideas, Inc. For two decades he has provided hands-on protein purification short courses to industrial scientists in the biopharm industry. In 2011, he created a first-of-a-kind Rutgers Summer Session hands-on lab course for profoundly gifted and talented youngsters, "Experiments with GFP: The Art and the Science." These activities attest to his instructional versatility and communication skills.
David O’Connell, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, School of Medicine, University College Dublin
My background is in the study of protein-protein interactions and the design of new expression and purification strategies. My PhD focused on the cloning of novel ion channel proteins and their expression in cell culture for radioligand binding assays. I performed my thesis project on isolation and identification of two novel purinergic ion channels P2X2 and P2X5. I performed postdoctoral research in the laboratory of James D Marks at the University of California at San Francisco where I developed and characterized phage and phagemid display systems for human antibodies and humanized mouse monoclonal antibodies to botulinum toxin as part of a US Dept. of Defense project. As a senior scientist with my own lab at the Conway Institute of Biomolecular & Biomedical Research in UCD, I have focused on the characterization of calcium control of protein-protein interactions using high content protein microarrays to identify functional interaction networks of calmodulin, secretagogin and sorcin. In addition to a number of original research articles I have submitted a number of patents in the area of affinity tag purification. Through the combination of protein engineering and methodology development for high throughput interaction screening I have developed an exciting and completely new methodology for very high efficiency purification of functional proteins. Using this approach I have also developed a novel class of nanoparticle-borne scFv that represent a terrific solution to a number of analytical processes and that are under design for therapeutic applications. I am presenting a fantastic new approach based on affinity between calcium binding protein domains that facilitate calcium controlled purification of proteins.