April 20, 2001
Volume XXXIV, No. 16


Of Note


Houston Endowment supports biomolecular structure center

A generous $1 million grant from the Houston Endowment Inc. has been received and will allow the acquisition of an array of sophisticated equipment for the Center for Biomolecular Structure Analysis, located on the fifth floor of the Allied Health/Research Building.

The Houston Endowment, a philanthropic organization endowed by Mr. and Mrs. Jesse H. Jones, has a long history of support for higher education in Texas.

The grant will be used to purchase bioanalytical equipment that will provide center investigators the infrastructure required to accomplish the center's research and educational missions.

Specifically, the grant from the Houston Endowment will allow the purchase of instrumentation for accomplishing X-ray crystallographic and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) studies necessary for the determination of the three-dimensional structures of important biomolecules.

Dr. Merle S. Olson, chairman of biochemistry and interim dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, said the grant would enable investigators in the San Antonio area to make significant strides in their research. "For example, the X-ray crystallography equipment to be installed will allow Dr. John Hart to study the neurodegenerative disease known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease," Dr. Olson said. "Dr. Hart's research employs the tools of the X-ray crystallographer to solve some of the most vexing problems associated with this deadly disease. Dr. Andrew Hinck, who is establishing the high-field NMR component of the center, will be able to determine the structures of proteins and receptor molecules involved in cancer biology and in various types of inflammatory disease."

The Center for Biomolecular Structure Analysis has multiple functions and is available to qualified researchers in the region who are interested in applying contemporary technologies for structure analyses in their research. Most importantly, the facilities of the center will be an essential technological component in the education and training of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and scientific colleagues throughout South Texas.