News And Events
Young Chemists to Participate in International Event at Northeastern
American Chemical Society (ACS) Pres. Nancy Jackson will be visiting Northeastern University next week to speak to students as part of the International Year of Chemistry (IYC).
IYC2011 is a worldwide celebration of the achievements of chemistry and its contributions to the well-being of humankind.
The goal of this year-long event is to increase the public appreciation of chemistry in meeting world needs, to encourage interest in chemistry among young people and to generate enthusiasm for the creative future of chemistry.
On Feb. 22 at 2 p.m., Jackson will be visiting the department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology here at Northeastern University (115 Hurtig) to interact with our ACS student affiliates chapter and to answer their questions about ACS and IYC2011.
Professor Graham Jones, Department Chair noted that the leadership of ACS is correctly reaching out to younger members who will become the next generation of leaders in the field. Northeastern has developed a very strong reputation as a talent pool for the chemical industry, and its graduates influence the discipline as it continually evolves.
ACS is the largest scientific society in the word with 160,000 members. Jackson's visit to Northeastern during IYC2011 is also a reflection on the success of the University's student affiliates chapter, which recently won the "outstanding chapter" award from the ACS.
Drug Discovery Research Takes Professors to India
Three chemistry professors from Northeastern University are traveling to India this week to discuss their work in the field of drug discovery.
INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF CHEMISTRY
2011 has been designated the International Year of Chemistry. To mark this exciting year for chemistry, several professional societies-including the American Chemical Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry-are planning a series of global events.
'CHEMISTRY FOR MANKIND'
Northeastern University Chemistry & Chemical Biology Professor and Chair Graham Jones, Associate Professor of Chemistry Michael Pollastri, and Professor of Chemistry George O'Doherty will deliver plenary lectures at two international conferences in India under the theme "Chemistry for Mankind - Innovative Ideas in Life Sciences."
The work Jones, Pollastri and O'Doherty have been invited to present is in connection with a multi-university project led by Northeastern University, involving Professor Eric Jacobsen of Harvard University and 2005 Nobelist in Chemistry Professor Robert Grubbs of CalTech.
The project is concerned with application of new technologies for the development of natural product based pharmaceuticals, and involves collaboration with the National Research Laboratories in India.
"India has a strong tradition in science and mathematics education and is advancing rapidly in technology," said Northeastern's College of Science Dean Murray Gibson. "Northeastern's profile as a global institution with intimate links between education and industry, especially in biotechnology, is a natural match."
NORTHEASTERN A NATURAL RESEARCH PARTNER
Commenting on the collaboration, Jones noted that Northeastern University and its track record in advancing use-inspired research, was seen as a natural partner by the National Research Laboratories, whose objective is to form strong ties with US institutions to advance their innovation economy.
The Indian government is developing joint programs with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund international collaborations. The project with researchers from Harvard and CalTech is the first of a number of initiatives to be advanced.
Given the rapid development of the pharmaceutical industry in Asia, collaborations such as this will serve to strengthen Northeastern's visibility as a global research leader and advance its portfolio in drug discovery.
Northeastern Researchers Gain a Voice in Federal Drug Policy
Graham Jones, chair of the department of chemistry and chemical biology at Northeastern University, testified this week at a public hearing on "biosimilars" held by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The hearing gathered input on specific issues and challenges associated with the implementation of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009. The act was created to establish an approval pathway for biological products that are "highly similar" (biosimilar) to FDA-licensed biological drugs.
In March, Northeastern and the FDA signed a memorandum of understanding to advance methods of analysis for developing biosimilars. The agreement established a research collaboration, along with educational, training and outreach programs for members of the FDA, industry and academia in the areas of biotechnology and analytical chemistry.
Northeastern's Center for Advanced Regulatory Analysis, housed within the Barnett Institute of Chemical and Biological Analysis, is leading several research projects, including the development of methods to assess the structural attributes, safety and efficacy of biological drugs.
"The hearing provided an ideal venue to showcase the power of analytical technology in resolving issues surrounding bioequivalence of branded and soon-to-be-introduced generic biopharmaceuticals," said Jones. "Our Barnett Institute has pioneered the application of these methods for a number of decades, and it was gratifying to note the high level of interest in the testimony both from the regulators and biopharmaceutical industry."
Sharing the podium with partners from Waters Corp., Jones noted that they were able to highlight cutting-edge advances by a number of Northeastern laboratories and researchers, including those of Barnett Institute director Barry Karger and associate professors of chemistry and chemical biology John Engen and Sunny Zhou.
"Given that health is one of the three great research challenges that Northeastern focuses on," said Jones, "it is noteworthy that, through this hearing, we will have played a role in the formation of policy surrounding introduction of the new classes of biopharmaceuticals - the fastest growing segment of the $600 billion pharmaceutical industry."
The hearing was a forum for researchers, doctors, drug companies and pharmacy groups to provide input on FDA implementation of the statute.
This fall, Northeastern introduced a professional master's program in biopharmaceutical regulatory science.
"No limit" on this Undergraduate's Future
Northeastern undergraduate student-researcher Billy Smith has landed a plum that university faculty members strive for: an article in a leading science journal. Smith, a third-year chemistry major, coauthored an article in Nature magazine about a promising treatment for a rare form of cancer, based on research he did on co-op at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
"I'm still in shock that the paper is out," said Smith, who researched NUT midline carcinoma, a rare, but highly lethal cancer found most often in the head and neck. "It makes me feel like there's so much more I can accomplish," Smith added, noting his plans to study oncology in medical school so that he can be part of the "unbelievable progress in cancer research."
From January through June, Smith worked alongside Dr. Jay Bradner, whose laboratory in Dana-Farber's department of medical oncology studies gene regulatory pathways using the emerging discipline of chemical biology, with a focus on cancer. Bradner is a colleague of Northeastern chemistry and chemical biology associate professor John Engen, who helped Smith win the co-op.
Smith worked with Bradner and other colleagues to treat NUT midline carcinoma cells with a compound developed in the lab. They found that the molecule stops cancer cells from dividing and growing and turns them into normally functioning cells.
It's a long way off, but the compound could be used to treat NUT midline carcinoma, a cancer whose survival rate is about six months after diagnosis.
"It would be unbelievable if it turned into a cancer therapy, and it definitely has the potential after we do more tests," said Smith.
There's no limit to what Smith could accomplish as a researcher or as a practitioner, said Bradner, who called Smith "an extraordinarily collegial and professional young man" with a vast knowledge of chemistry, cell biology and X-ray crystallography.
"We have every obligation to cultivate and encourage students like Billy," said Bradner, who explained that Smith's compassion and communication skills are uniquely suited for the multidisciplinary nature of modern medical care. "It warms my heart to think that he's excited about oncology as a clinical focus."
Smith is one of more than two dozen coauthors on the paper, titled "Selective Inhibition of BET Bromodomains." The paper was published in the online edition of Nature on September 24.
Glycochemistry Research Laboratory to open Fall 2010
The Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology welcomes
Professor George O’Doherty who will join us in September
2010 and will establish a state of the art synthetic glycochemistry
laboratory at Northeastern. The field of glycochemistry (the study
of sugars and their complex carbohydrate derivatives) is one of the
fastest growing and important new fields of biological chemistry.
O’Doherty, who has served on the faculties at both the University
of Minnesota and West Virginia, has multiple programs funded by
the NSF and NIH for chemical synthesis of modified sugars and their
derivatives and has an extensive collaborative network.
Kate Hardy Excels at the Centers for Disease Control
Middler Katelyn Hardy has always had a desire to work on the chemical side of public health and environmental sciences. Katelyn’s first co-op involved Environmental Health Training in Emergency Response (ETHER) and was able to shadow professionals in the public health sector and learn more about the profession. For her second co-op, she decided she wanted to experience a purely based chemistry assignment where she has been able to work on very new pieces of equipment that will be used to detect Butrylcholinesterase (which is a nerve agent adduct) in blood and urine samples through polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Through this work at the CDC, Kate is contributing to all of our safety, especially regarding chemical terrorism and diseases outbreaks.