Assistant Professor Styczynski Receives DARPA Young Faculty Award

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Mark Styczynski, an assistant professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech, has received a 2011 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Young Faculty Award for his research on 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 Young Faculty Award program will fund Styczynski’s research through 2013.

Styczynski’s work involves identifying millions of allosteric metabolite and protein interactions both efficiently and accurately.

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

Potential applications of Styczynski’s research fall into the division of DARPA known as the Defense Sciences Office, which focuses on developing technologies that will radically transform battlefield medical care. By cataloging the infinite number of 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.

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, Mass.



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