Professor Mark Styczynski Receives Young Faculty Award from DARPA

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Josie G. Giles
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School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
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Professor Mark Styczynski Receives Young Faculty Award from DARPA

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Dr. Mark Styczynski, an assistant professor in the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) at Georgia Tech, has received a 2011 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Young Faculty Award (DARPA YFA) for his research on the regulatory roles of metabolites, the small molecule building blocks necessary for all cellular functions.

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  • Dr. Mark Styczynski Dr. Mark Styczynski
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Dr. Mark Styczynski, an assistant professor in the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) at Georgia Tech, has received a 2011 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Young Faculty Award (DARPA YFA) for his research on the regulatory roles of metabolites, the small molecule building blocks necessary for all cellular functions.
  
DARPA presents the Young Faculty Award to outstanding junior faculty whose research will enable revolutionary advances in the areas of the physical sciences, engineering, and mathematics. The YFA program will fund Dr. Styczynski’s research through 2013.

Dr. Styczynski’s work involves identifying functional interactions between metabolites and proteins efficiently and accurately from among millions of candidate interactions. Using multiple high-throughput techniques, he determines which metabolite-protein interactions have a regulatory role. This process may help identify the best candidates for use in pharmacological therapeutics or for engineering cells to perform novel, useful functions. 

“Metabolites are some of the most direct, real-time readouts of cellular state that researchers can assay,” says Dr. Styczynski. “But they also play a significant regulatory role which is only beginning to be understood on a large scale.”

Using yeast and mammalian model systems, Dr. Styczynski’s lab has already made strides toward identifying disease biomarkers, especially those related to the development of cancer, and discovering more efficient methods for engineering biofuels.

“We use yeast in much of our research because they are easy to work with and are industrially relevant, but still mimic the metabolism seen in some human cells,” says Dr. Styczynski. “Our research is a combination of engineering, bioinformatics, molecular biology, and analytical chemistry. We take a systems biology approach to understanding and engineering biotechnologically and biomedically relevant organisms.”

Potential applications of Dr. Styczynski’s research fall into the division of DARPA known as the Defense Sciences Office (DSO), which focuses on developing technologies that will radically transform battlefield medical care. By cataloging metabolite-protein interactions, his research may lead to the development of a self-regulating drug for soldiers in the field that shuts itself down when no longer needed.

Dr. Styczynski received his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007. He joined the faculty at Georgia Tech in 2009 after a postdoctoral appointment at the Broad Institute, a world-renowned genomic medicine research center located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

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Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
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Keywords
chemical engineering, darpa, faculty award, Mark Styczynski
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  • Created By: Josie Giles
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Jun 24, 2011 - 4:07pm
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:09pm