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Institute of Chemical Biology to celebrate 10th anniversary

Feb. 28, 2013, 9:11 AM

Top chemists from around the country will be on hand March 12 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology (VICB), a brave experiment that helped jumpstart the University’s robust drug discovery initiative.

Scheduled speakers at the institute’s day-long anniversary symposium include Cynthia Burrows, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of Utah; Michael Marletta, Ph.D., president and CEO of The Scripps Research Institute; and Paul Wender, Ph.D., Bergstrom Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University.

“We’re excited to celebrate this important milestone in the growth of chemical biology at Vanderbilt,” said the institute’s founding director, Lawrence Marnett, Ph.D., University Professor of Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Pharmacology and Mary Geddes Stahlman Chair in Cancer Research. “The VICB is a great example of the power of trans-institutional collaboration and support.”

The symposium will begin at 8:45 a.m. in 214 Light Hall with remarks by Richard McCarty, Ph.D., provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, and Susan Wente, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research and senior associate dean for Biomedical Sciences.
Vanderbilt speakers include:

• Brian Bachmann, Ph.D., associate professor of Chemistry, who has found a source of new drugs among cave-dwelling microorganisms;

• Paul Barrett, graduate student in Biochemistry, who helped work out the structure of a key protein in Alzheimer’s disease;

• Charles Hong, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Medicine, whose wide-ranging studies could lead to new therapies for heart disease;

• Dan Liebler, Ph.D., Ingram Professor of Cancer Research, and director of the Jim Ayers Institute for Precancer Detection and Diagnosis; and

• Eric Skaar, Ph.D., MPH, Ernest W. Goodpasture Chair in Pathology and director of the Program in Microbial Pathogenesis.

The VICB was established in 2002 as a joint venture between the School of Medicine and the College of Arts and Science with support from the University’s Academic Venture Capital Fund.
Since then, it has established high-throughput screening and chemical synthesis facilities, an antibody and protein resource and a small-molecule NMR facility.

The institute has recruited 20 faculty members from leading universities and the pharmaceutical industry and helped initiate neuroscience and cancer drug discovery programs.

Currently there are more than 70 VICB investigators representing 18 academic departments.

For more information about the symposium, contact Anne Lara at or 322-0907.

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