Celia Schiffer appointed Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biotechnology


Celia A. Schiffer, PhD, has accepted the position of chair of the new Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biotechnology, effective October 1. Formerly Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, the new name reflects the increased role of advanced technologies. such as electron cryomicroscopy and computational biology, as well as the science of pharmacology to bring a molecular perspective to problems in biology and medicine.

Celia A. Schiffer, PhD

Dr Schiffer joined the faculty in 1998, after undergraduate studies in physics at the University of Chicago, received his doctorate in biophysics from the University of California at San Francisco, and completed postdoctoral fellowships at ETH -Zürich in Switzerland and Genentech, Inc. in the South. San Francisco.

Since then, she has realized her vision of enabling science by realizing, promoting and nurturing the potential of people and scientific research. His laboratory primarily studies the molecular basis of drug resistance in viruses. Through this research, she developed a new paradigm for avoiding drug resistance in the design of structure-based drugs that likely results in other diseases.

In 2009, she created the Institute for Drug Resistance with academic and industrial partners to create a link for interdisciplinary research. It is the only organization in the world with a mission to foster collaborative and cross-disease research with the goal of accelerating the design, development and delivery of resilient drugs that avoid resistance across multiple diseases and drug classes. Her research has resulted in more than 185 publications and funding of $ 50 million as a principal investigator.

Schiffer’s multiple achievements in research and education have been widely recognized. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and in 2019 was invested as Gladys Smith Martin Chair in Oncology. In 2020, she received the William C. Rose Prize from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; in 2016, she was named by the Massachusetts Society for Medical Research as Educator of the Year for excellence in research, mentorship and leadership in bringing women and under-represented minorities into science; and in 2016, received the Chancellor’s First Prize for Excellence in Mentoring from Chancellor Michael F. Collins.

The department that Schiffer will lead is large, multidisciplinary and extremely productive: researchers in the department study the mechanisms of protein dynamics, assembly and trafficking; structural biology and molecular biophysics; molecular modeling; mechanisms of epigenetic inheritance; drug discovery; cell and developmental biology; molecular interactions of DNA and RNA; and experimental and computational chemistry.

Schiffer succeeds C. Robert Matthews, PhD, who retired after 21 years of distinguished leadership in one of the most innovative and scientifically accomplished basic science departments in the country.

Related Articles on UMassMed News:
Communicating Science: The Institute for Drug Resistance Video Series Raises Awareness and Understands
Celia Schiffer named 2020 ELAM Leadership for Women in Medicine Fellow
2019 investiture ceremony honors four nominated professors and their benefactors
Celia Schiffer honored with the William C. Rose Prize from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Celia Schiffer honored for her STEM mentorship


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