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Guest lecture to focus on new drug developments


6 March 2014

Guest lecture to focus on new drug developments

The results of drug studies which could provide new treatments for life threatening infections will be the topic of the annual Ferrier Lecture presented next month by a visiting lecturer to Victoria University of Wellington.

Jef De Brabander, Professor of Biochemistry at The University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, United States, is delivering the annual Ferrier Lecture, established in honour of Emeritus Professor Robert (Robin) J. Ferrier, one of New Zealand’s eminent chemists and a leader in the field of carbohydrate chemistry.

In his lecture, Professor Brabander will discuss a unique drug development aimed at the treatment of pneumonia and other life threating infections.

He will present the results of his chemical and biological studies related to an antibiotic called Mangrolide A, isolated from a microbe found in the mangrove swamps in the Bahamas. The studies were carried out in collaboration with John MacMillan at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

"The frequency of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is currently rising at an alarming rate, so the need to identify new antibiotics has reached a critical level," says Professor De Brabander.

Supported through the Victoria University Foundation by Dr Peppi Prasit, a former PhD student of Robin Ferrier, the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry, and Victoria’s Faculty of Science, the Ferrier Lecture aims to bring internationally-renowned scientists to Wellington to inspire current students and deliver a public lecture.

Ferrier Lecture details
Natural Products: Discoveries in Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry and Biology
Wednesday 12 March, 5.30pm
Memorial Theatre, Kelburn Campus, Victoria University of Wellington
To RSVP email or phone 04-463 5335

About Professor Jef De Brabander
Jef De Brabander is Professor of Biochemistry at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, United States, where he has taught since 1998 and currently holds the Julie and Louis Beecherl, Jr., Chair in Medical Science. He is Co-Director of the Chemistry and Cancer Scientific Program of the Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, and serves on the Science Advisory Board of Reata Pharmaceuticals and SynAlpha Therapeutics—companies he co-founded.

Professor De Brabander was an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow from 2001 to 2003. He received the Royal Society and Académie des sciences Award from the Royal Academy of Sciences, Letters and Beautiful Arts of Belgium; a Journal Award from the editorial boards of Synlett and Synthesis; and an Academic Development Program Award from the Chemistry Council of Merck Research Laboratories.

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