Patricia Clark, the Rev. John Cardinal O'Hara, C.S.C. Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and concurrent professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, was named President-elect of the Gibbs Society of Biological Thermodynamics at the society's 27th annual meeting in October. Clark’s term as president will begin in October 2014.
The goal of the Gibbs Society is to foster more innovative applications in the field of biological thermodynamics. The society especially encourages involvement by students and postdoctoral fellows in research areas related to biological thermodynamics in order to evolve future advancements in the field.
Research in Clark's laboratory is focused on understanding how proteins fold in living cells. Specifically, Clark's laboratory has demonstrated that the rate at which a protein is synthesized can affect whether a protein will fold correctly, or not. Since incorrect folding leads to numerous, diverse human diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, cystic fibrosis, Niemann-Pick and many forms of cancer, Clark has now focused her attention on understanding the precise mechanisms by which protein translation rate can affect folding for medically-relevant proteins. This summer she became the Director for the Protein Translation Research Network, an National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded multi-institutional effort to understand the factors that control protein synthesis rate inside cells.
Clark has received several prestigious awards and recognition throughout her career, including a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation and a National Research Development Award from the American Heart Association. She has served on the Biophysical Society's Council, and is a member of the Editorial Board of Biophysical Journal. She was also the 2013 recipient of the Michael & Kate Bárány Award from the Biophysical Society.