KU – Professor earns national honors for early career scientific achievement

LAWRENCE – Emily Scott, associate professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Kansas, has received national recognition for her research on the structure and function of cytochrome P450 enzymes – proteins responsible for the breakdown of drugs and other foreign chemicals in the body.
Scott has been named a recipient of the 2011 Drug Metabolism Division Early Career Achievement Award from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
The society established the award to recognize excellent original research by early career investigators in the area of drug metabolism and disposition. The Drug Metabolism Division evaluates nominations for independence of thought, originality of scientific approach, clarity of communication and impact on the field.
Scott’s research focuses on understanding how the shapes and chemical features of cytochrome P450 enzymes determine which drugs and chemicals they can work on, a field of study called structure-function relationships.
Because human cytochrome P450 enzymes are usually embedded in cellular membranes, they are particularly difficult to produce and work with. Scott’s laboratory has been remarkably successful in doing so, generating detailed atom-level descriptions of how cytochromes P450 are able to bind different drugs and chemicals. One application of this research is the use of such information to stop a particular human lung enzyme that converts nicotine into DNA-damaging chemicals that then lead to lung cancer in tobacco users.
Scott will receive a $1,000 award, plaque and expenses to attend the society’s April meeting. She has been invited to present a lecture at the 2011 annual meeting describing her research accomplishments. She also has been invited to publish a review article in the scientific journal Drug Metabolism and Disposition.
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