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Founders’ Celebration for Institute of Chemical Biology set for March 28

Mar. 22, 2018, 9:41 AM


The Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology (VICB) will hold a Founders’ Celebration mini-symposium on March 28 to acknowledge the contributions of its founders, Lawrence Marnett, PhD, and Ned Porter, PhD, and to celebrate 15-plus years of success as a trans-institutional scientific incubator.

The event, which is co-sponsored by the Department of Chemistry, will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. in room 214 Light Hall and will feature as guest speakers internationally known chemists K.C. Nicolaou, PhD, and Andrew Myers, PhD.

A wine and cheese reception will follow at 4:15 p.m. in the north lobby of Light Hall.

Nicolaou is the Harry C. and Olga K. Wiess Professor of Chemistry at Rice University in Houston. His talk is titled “The art and science of organic synthesis and its impact on biology and medicine.”

Myers is the Harry Amory Houghton Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. His talk is titled “Where do the antibiotics we use come from; should we care? Progress toward the development of new antibiotics effective against drug-resistant gram-negative pathogens.”

The VICB was founded in 2002 as a joint initiative of the School of Medicine and College of Arts and Science by Marnett, currently dean of Basic Sciences in the School of Medicine, and Porter, now research professor of Chemistry.

Supported by the University’s Academic Venture Capital Fund, its mission was to establish research and education programs that applied chemical technologies to important biological problems.

Gary Sulikowski, PhD, a VICB member since 2004 and director of the Chemical Synthesis Core, is the institute’s interim director. Other associate directors and their areas of expertise are Brian Bachmann, PhD, Molecular Discovery; Alex Waterson, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry; Eric Skaar, PhD, MPH, Translation/Therapeutics; and Dave Weaver, PhD, Discovery Technologies.

The institute represents more than 70 faculty members with a combined total of more than 3,500 scientific publications. VICB has supported more than 50 trainees, founded the Chemical Biology Association of Students and invited more than 425 guest speakers from around the country to discuss their work.

The VICB provided the incubator for the launching of the highly productive Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery directed by P. Jeffrey Conn, PhD, and provides ongoing support for the Cancer Drug Discovery Program led by Stephen Fesik, PhD.

In addition to cancer and neuropsychiatric disorders, institute-supported basic science discoveries have advanced understanding of diseases ranging from obesity and diabetes, epilepsy, malaria and bacterial infections.

“VICB provides the vibrant interdisciplinary environment that fosters new discovery and research innovation at Vanderbilt,” said Sulikowski, Stevenson Professor of Chemistry and professor of Pharmacology. “It remains committed to harnessing the power of chemistry to improve human health.”

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