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Celia A. Schiffer the new chair of Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biotechnology

Effective Oct. 1, Celia A. Schiffer, Ph.D., has accepted the chair of the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biotechnology, which has been renamed. The new name emphasizes the growing involvement of cutting-edge technologies like cryo-electron microscopy and computational biology and the science of pharmacology in bringing a molecular perspective to challenges in biology and medicine.

Dr. Schiffer joined the faculty in 1998 after completing undergraduate physics studies at the University of Chicago, a Ph.D. in biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, and postdoctoral fellowships at ETH-Zürich in Switzerland Genentech, Inc. in South San Francisco. She has since achieved her goal of enabling research by recognizing, encouraging, and cultivating the potential of people and scientific questions. Her research focuses on the molecular basis of virus medication resistance. She has established a new paradigm for preventing drug resistance in structure-based drug design due to this research, which is likely to apply to other diseases.

She founded the Institute for Drug Resistance in 2009 with academic and industry partners to build a cross-disciplinary research hub. It is the world’s only organization dedicated to fostering cross-disease collaboration to accelerate the design, development, and delivery of resilient medications that avoid resistance across various diseases and drug classes. As a primary investigator, her research has resulted in more than 185 publications and $50 million in funding.

Schiffer’s contributions to research and education have been extensively recognized. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the Gladys Smith Martin Chair in Oncology, which she was appointed to in 2019. In addition, she received the William C. Rose Award from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2020; she was named educator of the year by the Massachusetts Society for Medical Research in 2016 for excellence in research, mentoring.

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