Shahriar Mobashery, the Navari Family Professor in Life Sciences in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been awarded the 2019 Emil Thomas Kaiser Award from The Protein Society (TPS) for his research that applies chemistry to the study of proteins.
The Emil Thomas Kaiser Award recognizes a recent, highly significant contribution to protein research, and TPS noted Mobashery’s contributions to the discovery of new antibiotics, antibiotic mechanisms of action, mechanisms of antibiotic resistance, and studies of cell-wall biosynthesis, recycling and regulation.
The honor “is a wonderful recognition of the work my research group does,” Mobashery said.
Not only is Mobashery pleased to have received the award, but it also holds special meaning for him. It was established in memory of Emil Thomas Kaiser, who was a pioneer in the chemistry of enzymes, as well as in the then-emerging fields of peptide chemistry and bio-organic chemistry. Mobashery was in the last group of postdoctoral fellows in Kaiser’s lab at Rockefeller University in 1986, when Kaiser died at age 50. “That I would be recognized with this award is a clear testament of the impact — his legacy — that Tom Kaiser has had on the field.”
Mary Galvin, the William K. Warren Foundation Dean of the College of Science, said the college is honored that TPS has recognized Mobashery’s significant contributions to the field. “Prof. Mobashery’s protein research during the past 30 years has positioned him as a leader in the field of antibiotic resistance, and his studies have increased understanding of cell-wall biosynthesis and recycling,” she said.
Mobashery has authored more than 370 scientific publications, and his work has been cited by more than 20,000 times by other researchers.
Mobashery earned undergraduate degrees in chemistry and biology from the University of Southern California, and his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Chicago. He completed his postdoctoral research at Rockefeller University and was a professor at Wayne State University from 1989 to 2003. He has been at Notre Dame since 2003. In addition to his work in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Mobashery is also affiliated with Notre Dame’s Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics, the Warren Family Research Center for Drug Discovery and Development, and Eck Institute for Global Health.
Understanding the chemistry of proteins is vital for future medical applications, including the processes of virtually all diseases. “Proteins are workhorses of living cells; many enzymes are proteins, which catalyze the thousands of reactions that cells depend on for survival,” Mobashery said. “To understand the biochemical processes of the cell, we need to have a full understanding of what these proteins do.”
TPS, established in 1985, is the premiere international society dedicated to supporting protein research. It serves as the intellectual home of investigators across many fields who study protein structure, function, and design.