May 12, 2011

Nationwide Search for Biochemistry Chair to Launch this Summer

The nationwide search for a new permanent chair for the Department of Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine will launch this summer.

The search committee will be chaired by Lawrence Marnett, Ph.D., the Mary Geddes Stahlman Professor of Cancer Research, professor of Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Pharmacology, and director of the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology.

F. Peter (Fred) Guengerich, Ph.D., has served as interim chair of the department since last July, when long-time chair Michael Waterman, Ph.D., stepped down to spend more time in his lab.

Known for his research on the structure, function and regulation of cytochrome P450 enzymes required for lipid biosynthesis and metabolism, Waterman, the Natalie Overall Warren Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry, recruited several prominent faculty members during his 18 years as chair.

“Mike did a great job building Biochemistry,” Marnett said. “The department is one of the strongest in the country, so the opportunity to be chair should be very attractive. I’m excited to begin the search.”

Last year Marnett was named to the second class of American Chemical Society Fellows in recognition of his “outstanding contributions” to chemistry and the ACS. He also is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, author of more than 400 research publications and 14 patents, and editor-in-chief of the ACS journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.

“With his trans-institutional leadership experience and international stature, Larry is uniquely positioned to lead this search,” noted Susan Wente, Ph. D., associate vice chancellor for Research and senior associate dean for Biomedical Sciences. “We have great confidence in his guidance to conduct this important process.”

Guengerich, the interim chair, is the Harry Pearson Broquist Professor of Biochemistry and director of the Center in Molecular Toxicology. In 2009, he was inducted into the first class of ACS Fellows. “Fred is doing a tremendous job stewarding the department through this time of transition,” said Wente.