February 19, 1999
Colloquium Speaker: Anthony Kossiakoff
Professor Anthony A. Kossiakoff a product of Montgomery County schools, received his B.S. degree in Chemistry and Mathematics from Davis and Elkins College in 1968 and his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Delaware in 1972 where he was a Unidel Research Fellow and Postdoctoral Research Fellow. He spent the next four years at the California Institute of Technology as a NIH Postdoctoral Research Fellow and as Senior Research Scientist before joining the Brookhaven National Laboratory as a Biophysicist. During 1983-1998, Professor Kossiakoff was at the Genentech, Inc. and served in various positions including as the Director of Biocatalysis (1984-88) and the Director of Protein Engineering (1988-98). Concurrently he was on the faculty of the University of California at San Francisco as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry (1983-present), Biophysics Faculty (1990-present) and the Molecular Design Institute (1996-98). After serving the year (1997-98) as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Chicago, he moved there and is presently Otho S. Sprague Professor and Chairman of the Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Co-Director, Institute of Physical Biological Dynamics. Professor Kossiakoff has made seminal contributions to genetics and biological structures, has actively served on numerous university and national laboratories committees, was Editor, Current Opinion in Biotechnology (1993), and currently serves on the Editorial Boards of Proteins:Structure, Function and Genetics and of Structure.
The ways in which cells communicate with their environment is an intensely studied area in biology. The mechanisms are only now being appreciated at a molecular level. These mechanisms all involve a finely tuned system of molecular recognition. An interesting feature of this system is that some molecular recognition processes are contra-intuitive. Nature has created subtle ways to form associations that our "intelligent" algorithms completely miss. The talk will focus on a crystallographic and biophysical approach to understand how nature designs its specificity codes.