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John C. Krantz, Jr. Distinguished Lecture 2007: Dr. Stephen L. Mayo
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Protein Design at the Crossroads: Using Computation to Accelerate Discovery.

Dr. Stephen L. Mayo
Professorof Biology and Chemistry Investigator, Howard Hughs Medical Institute, California Institute of Technology

Dr. Mayo is a Professor of Biology and Chemistry in the Divisions of Biology and Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology and an Investigator in the Structural Biology section at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He also holds an appointment at the University of Southern California School of Medicine as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He received a B.S. degree in chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University, where he developed an interactive macromolecular modeling program with Roy Olofson and a Ph.D. degree in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology, where he studied biological electron transfer with Harry Gray.  As a graduate student, he co-founded the company Molecular Simulations, Inc. in 1985, and served as the company's vice president for biological sciences from 1989 to 1990. Mayo also co-founded Xencor in 1997 and serves on its scientific advisory board.

Dr. Mayo, a member of the Caltech faculty since 1992, has worked for the last several years on a system for designing, building, and testing proteins with novel biochemical properties. The system automatically determines a string of amino acids that will fold to most nearly duplicate the 3-D shape of a target structure. The focus of the lab has been the coupling of theoretical, computational, and experimental approaches for the study of structural biology. In particular, the development of quantitative methods for protein design with the goal of developing a fully systematic design strategy called "protein design automation." This design approach has been captured in a suite of software programs called ORBIT (Optimization of Rotamers By Iterative Techniques) and has been applied to a variety of problems ranging from protein fold stabilization to enzyme design.

Dr. Mayo's honors are numerous and include a Rita Allen Foundation Scholar Award, a David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowship, a Searle Scholar Award, and the Johnson Foundation Prize for adventurous and innovative research in structural biology. Dr. Mayo is a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 2004.

As the 20th John C. Krantz, Jr. Distinguished Lecturer, Dr. Mayo will lecture on the “Protein Design at the Crossroads: Using Computation to Accelerate Discovery.”


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