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The American Society for Microbiology honors Andrew Lovering
Date:8/22/2012

Andrew Lee Lovering, Ph.D., School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, has received a 2012 ICAAC Young Investigator Award for his seminal work on the structural biology and biochemistry of the proteins that synthesize and modify cell walls in bacteria. Natalie Strynadka, University of British Columbia, describes the significance of Lovering's work: "his spectacular abilities in structural biology clearly paved the way for our understanding of these important antibacterial targets which are also membrane-anchored, a hurdle that has thwarted literally decades of attempts at previous characterization by many groups worldwide." "His protein structure work has shown how Gram positive bacteria synthesize teichoic acids, how bacterial cell walls are transglycosylated, and how enzymes of predatory bacteria partially degrade bacterial cell walls as they invade prey bacteria," explained nominator Liz Sockett, University of Nottingham.

Lovering obtained his B.Sc. in Biochemistry from Birmingham University, where he also earned his Ph.D. in Biosciences. There he used x-ray crystallography to detail the mechanism of action of two enzymes involved in cancer therapies; one a bacterial nitroreductase used in gene therapy of solid tumors, and the other a target for a cell differentiation approach tackling acute myeloid leukemia.

After graduating from Birmingham University, a postdoctoral position in Strynadka's laboratory at the University of British Columbia introduced Lovering to the subject of antibacterial research. This led to determination of the structures of two monotopic membrane proteins involved in bacterial cell wall synthesis. One of these, S. aureus PBP2, represented the first detailed view of how bacteria catalyze the essential step of peptidoglycan polymerisation, a potentially excellent drug target. The other, S. epidermidis TagF, revealed how the Gram-positive wall polymer teichoic acid is synthesized and may form the basis for the de
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Contact: Garth Hogan
ghogan@asmusa.org
American Society for Microbiology
Source:Eurekalert

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