Chemistry and Biochemistry Research Chair is Awarded as a Sujack Master Researcher
Carl Moore Research Chair, Dr. Graham Moran was recently honored as a 2020 Sujack Master Researcher. Dr. Moran joined the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department in 2018 and has established a vibrant research program based in the study of enzyme reaction chemistry. His laboratory studies the behavior of numerous enzymes many of which have defied description by traditional approaches. Formally trained as a kineticist, Dr. Moran seeks to observe the behavior of enzymes on time frames relevant to their function. This requires the use of specialized instrumentation and analysis methods to deconvolute complex datasets.
Current projects in the Moran laboratory are concerned with inhibition of two enzymes directly related to cancer treatment and unusual transformations that occur in riboflavin biosynthesis. Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase is a complex enzyme that catalyzes very simple chemistry. The activity of this enzyme undermines treatment efficacy for numerous cancers by degrading a common chemotherapeutic agent, 5-fluorouracil. Isocitrate dehydrogenase I has aberrant forms that arise by mutation. These variant enzymes acquire a new activity that causes specific cells to become proliferative. GTP cyclohydrolase II and RibD catalyze unusual chemistry in riboflavin biosynthesis. The project based on elucidation of the chemistry at work in these enzymes was recently awarded a three-year grant from The National Science Foundation.
“Recognition as a 2020 Sujack Master Researcher was a genuine surprise. Each day I come to work to decipher intricate puzzles we call enzymes. The study of these enormous molecules is highly rewarding and I am very fortunate to have devoted researchers in my laboratory that share this interest. That our work would be recognized by others was an unexpected added benefit for which I am most grateful.” said Dr. Moran.