IAS Distinguished Lecture

Discovery of a Large New Class of Biologics at HKUST


Through efforts of a HKUST and IAS-sponsored work, and in collaboration with investigators at The Scripps Research Institute, Stanford University and elsewhere, a large new class of biologics (natural proteins) has been discovered. Surprisingly, these novel biologics arise by natural 'metamorphosis' of the individual members of a long known family of enzymes previously known for their associated with the first step of protein synthesis. After metamorphosis, each of these enzymes takes on a new biological role. These roles are closely tied to cellular homeostasis and offer new opportunities for therapeutic interventions in a variety of disease settings.

About the speaker

Prof. Paul Schimmel is Ernest and Jean Hahn Professor of Molecular Biology and Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI). Before joining TSRI, he had been a professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at MIT for 30 years. His major research activities have concentrated on the decoding of genetic information, and Nature magazine listed the work of his laboratory on expressed sequence tags as one of the four key developments that launched the human genome project. Prof. Schimmel is a Member of the US National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the Institute of Medicine.

Prof. Schimmel holds several patents and is a co-founder or founding director of eleven biotechnology companies, of which six are publicly traded. These companies are developing new therapies for human diseases and disorders. One of these is Pangu BioPharma, an innovative partnership with HKUST with project funding from the Innovation and Technology Commission.


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