Enzyme Mini-Symposium to Celebrate the Career of Thomas Nowak

Author: Rachel Fellman


The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has announced a mini-symposium, “For the Love of Enzymes,” to celebrate the service and retirement of Thomas Nowak, professor emeritus of chemistry and biochemistry. The conference will be Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Notre Dame Conference Center and is organized by Anthony Serianni, professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

Nowak joined Notre Dame in 1972, after earning his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the Case Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Kansas. His research deals with the regulation, structure, and interrelation of the mechanisms by which enzymes do their work of catalyzing chemical reactions within the body. Most recently, his laboratory has investigated enzymes involved in metabolic energy utilization and energy storage, examining the role of cations in their regulatory and catalytic processes. He is the recipient of a National Institutes of Health Research Career Development Award and has been a visiting professor at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands and the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in Santiago.

Conference speakers and presenters include Francis Castellino and Paul Huber of Notre Dame, Al Mildvan of Johns Hopkins University, Todd Holyoak of the University of Waterloo, Andrew Mesecar of Purdue University, Gregory Reinhart of Texas A&M University, and Patrick Loria of Yale University. Mildvan's presentation in particular will draw on Nowak's pioneering work on pyruvate kinase and PEP carboxykinase using chiral analogs of PEP, as well as his more recent X-ray diffraction studies of PEP carboxykinase-metal-substrate complexes.