Past Recipients of the Irving S. Sigal Postdoctoral Fellowship

Dr. Maraia Ener

Dr. Maraia Ener (2014-2016 Sigal Fellow) – Maraia completed her doctoral studies in December 2013, under the supervision of  Professor Harry B. Gray in the Department of Chemistry at California Institute of Technology. She will conduct her postdoctoral studies on “Development and Implementation of Peptide Cavities to Control Ultrafast Proton Transfer”, in the research groups of Professors Tom Spiro and David Baker at University of Washington and in collaboration with Professor James Mayer of Yale University. Maraia’s doctoral dissertation is on “Electron Flow Through Cytochrome P450”.   For her Irving S. Sigal Postdoctoral Fellowship, Maraia will investigate how proteins direct the movement of one of the smallest chemical reactants: the proton.  Proteins harness proton transfers (PTs) to drive structural changes and tune important catalytic reactions. Cell survival depends on precise control over these processes, however, the ubiquity of hydrogen bonds and ultrafast timescale of PT hinder the detailed study of PT mechanisms in biological systems. To address these challenges, Maraia will develop two-component model systems to probe PT within a peptide pocket, and will study the ultrafast vibrational dynamics of the PT processes using Femtosecond Stimulated Raman Spectroscopy (FSRS).  A broad array of molecular interactions between the PT-pair and peptide cavity will be engineered by an iterative process of computational peptide design and experimental characterization. Realization of these objectives will help to develop better and more accurate models of enzyme active sites, and will aid the study of similar interactions within complex, native biochemical systems.

Dr. Siddhesh S. Kamat

Dr. Siddhesh S. Kamat (2012-2014 Sigal Fellow) – Sigal Fellow at the Department of Chemical Physiology, The Skaggs Institute of Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA. Fellowship Topic: Lipidomic and functional proteomic methods to identify the major reactive oxygen species (ROS)-generated lipid products.  Currently, Dr. Kamat is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the lab of Benjamin F. Cravatt, in the Department of Chemical Physiology & The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, at the The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA.  Dr. Kamat is investigating novel metabolic pathways with emphasis on the serine hydrolase family of enzymes.  He intends to apply this research into investigating novel biological mechanisms and pathways prevalent in various diseases.

Dr. Samuel J. Lord

Dr. Samuel J. Lord (2010-2012 Sigal Fellow) – Sigal Fellow at University of California, San Francisco, CA. Fellowship Topic: Using supported lipid bilayers to investigate the physical underpinning of signaling in cells. Currently, Dr. Lord is a postdoctoral fellow in the Dyche Mullins' Laboratory at the University of California in San Francisco, CA. Dr. Lord is continuing the research that was supported by the Sigal Fellowship, using fluorescence microscopy and supported lipid bilayers as tools to study how the spatial organization of biomolecules and mechanical forces within and between cells influence cell-cell signaling.

Dr. John Hoerter

Dr. John Hoerter (2008-2010 Sigal Fellow) – Sigal Fellow at The Scripps Research Institute (with Professor Nicholas Gascoigne). Fellowship Topic: Dynamics, Degredation, and Chemical Modification of Non-Coding RNA.  Currently, Dr. Hoerter is a Research Fellow in the Laboratory of Professor Nicholas Gascoigne, Department of Immunology and Microbial Science at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA. Dr. Hoerter is continuing the research that was supported by the Sigal Fellowship, the study of intermolecular interactions at the immunologic synapse.

Dr. Shanlin Pan

Dr. Shanlin Pan (2006-2008 Sigal Fellow) – Sigal Fellow at The University of Texas at Austin (with Professor Allen J. Bard). Fellowship Topic: Photoluminescence Enhancement by Surface Plasmon Resonance of Metallic Nanostructures and Its Applications.  Currently, Dr. Pan is Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Alabama. Dr. Pan’s present research areas include single molecule spectroelectrochemistry, organic photovoltaic and electrochemistry of nano-materials.

Dr. Matthew G. Woll

Dr. Matthew G. Woll (2004-2006 Sigal Fellow) – Sigal Fellow at Harvard University (with Professor Eric N. Jacobsen). Fellowship Topic: A New Strategy to Asymmetrically Open Aziridines with a Heterobimetallic Catalyst.  Currently, Dr. Woll is a Senior Scientist at a small pharmaceutical company, PTC Therapeutics, in South Plainfield, NJ. Dr. Woll is working on a treatment for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).

Dr. Hendrik Luesch (2002-2004 Sigal Fellow) – Sigal Fellow at The Scripps Research Institute (with Professor Peter G. Schultz). Fellowship Topic: Elucidation of the Mechanism of Action of Aoratoxin A, a Cytotoxic Marine Natural Product.  Currently, Dr. Luesch is Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Florida. Dr. Luesch’s research combines natural products chemistry with high-throughput screening and chemical genomics, to characterize potential drugs and molecular drug targets for disease processes, especially cancer and neurological disorders.

Dr. Sarah E. O’Connor

Dr. Sarah E. O’Connor (2000-2002 Sigal Fellow) – Sigal Fellow at Harvard Medical School (with Professor Christopher Walsh). Fellowship Topic: Characterization of the EpoA Subunit of the Epothilone Synthetase Complex: Biosynthesis of a Potent Anti-Cancer Agent.  Currently, Dr. O’Connor is a Project Leader at the John Innes Centre and a Professor of Chemistry at the University of East Anglia. Dr. O’Connor is working on plant natural product biosynthesis.

Dr. Danith H. Ly

Dr. Danith H. Ly (1998-2000 Sigal Fellow) – Sigal Fellow at University of California, Berkeley and The Scripps Research Institute (with Professor Peter G. Schultz). Fellowship Topic: A New Strategy for the Design and Synthesis of Artificial Proteins and Enzymes Based on Peptide Nucleic Acid (PNA) Recognition: Development of Artificial Restriction Enzymes.  Currently, Dr. Ly is Associate Professor of Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Ly is working on the development of molecular tools and reagents to regulate gene expression and probe protein localization and dynamics in cells and intact organisms.

Dr. Paul S. Cremer

Dr. Paul S. Cremer (1996-1998 Sigal Fellow) – Sigal Fellow at Stanford University (with Professor Steven G. Boxer). Fellowship Topic: Investigation and Manipulation of Supported Lipid Bilayers and Model Membranes by Integrated Microelectronic Components Created with Nanolithography.  Currently, Dr. Cremer is Professor and the Arthur E. Martell Chair of Chemistry at Texas A&M University, and Associate Editor for the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). Dr. Cremer’s laboratory does interdisciplinary research on the physical, analytical, and biological chemistry of interfaces.