Michael Best, an assistant professor of organic chemistry, recently received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. The award includes a 5-year, $580,000 grant to support his laboratory research on the molecular mechanisms by which proteins bind to lipids presented on the surfaces of cellular membranes. Such events control many biological processes and are aberrant in numerous disease states, including cancer. Better understanding of these interactions and the defects associated with them is important to determining the underlying causes of diseases.
Best’s research involves synthesizing derivatives corresponding to important lipids and applying them as probes so the details of cell surface protein binding events can be characterized at the molecular level. The CAREER Award is the NSF’s most prestigious award for young faculty members early in their careers.