Wilfred A. van der Donk, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and Richard E. Heckert endowed chairman in chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was awarded the 2010 Jeremy Knowles Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry. He received the honor for his interdisciplinary work on the discovery and development of new antibiotics, the mechanism of fatty acid oxidation by cyclo-oxygenase and lipoxygenases and the development of new biocatalysts for use in the pharmaceutical industry.
The award itself consists of 2,000 British pounds and a medal that was presented at van der Donk’s award this past September at the RSC conference in Durham, UK. As part of the award, van der Donk also will be delivering a lectureship at UK universities in March 2011.
van der Donk’s research focuses on using organic chemistry and molecular biology to gain a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of enzyme catalysis. His group also is exploring the utility of enzymes in organic chemistry. A particular focus has been enzymatic reactions in the biosynthesis of antibiotics, and radical chemistry in proteins such as cyclo-oxygenase and lipoxygenase. His group also has investigated unusual enzymatic reactions involving reduced phosphorus compounds such as phosphite dehydrogenase and 2-hydroxy ethylphosphonate dioxygenase.
Carl Ware has been appointed director of the Infectious and Inflammatory Disease Center at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. Prior to joining Sanford-Burnham, Ware headed the division of molecular immunology at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology.
As director of the center, Ware will oversee the institute’s work on conditions such as HIV, influenza, anthrax, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, autoimmune disorders and many other conditions. He plans to build the institute’s ability to combat viral diseases and create partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotech companies to find new treatments for immune-based conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and lymphoma.
Ware’s research is directed at understanding the structure-function, signaling pathways and clinical utility of cytokines of the tumor necrosis factor superfamily.
“We are very pleased that Carl has joined us at Sanford-Burnham,” said CEO John Reed, professor and Donald Bren chief executive chair. “His insights into immune signaling and inflammation and his proven track record of translating basic research findings into new treatments will make a significant impact on our work in autoimmune, inflammatory, infectious and other diseases.”