I am pleased to announce that Dr. Joseph P. Noel, Ph.D. will deliver the keynote address at the UPJ commencement honoring graduating seniors at 2:00 p.m., Saturday May 7, 2005 in the College's Sports Center.
Dr. Noel is a professor in the newly created Jack Skirball Chemical Biology and Proteomics Laboratory and an adjunct member of the Structural Biology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, located in La Jolla, Calif., is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to fundamental discoveries in the life sciences, the improvement of human health and conditions, and the training of future generations of researchers. Jonas Salk, M.D., founded the institute in 1960 with a gift of land from the City of San Diego and the financial support of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation.
He received his B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in 1985 and his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Ohio State University in Chemistry/Biochemistry in 1990. Dr. Noel's complete vitae may be viewed by clicking here.
He is currently the director of a new initiative in Chemistry at the Salk Institute. Joe and his group are utilizing a combination of traditional mechanistic enzymology, molecular biology, plant biology, synthetic chemistry and tools in structural biology including protein x-ray crystallography and NMR to decipher the structure, function, and evolutionary lineage of a large number of enzymes that act in plant cells and many microorganisms to produce biologically active natural products including terpenes, polyketides, and alkaloids. These highly evolved chemicals have played critical roles in the pharmaceutical industry as sources of new highly potent drugs. Armed with the three dimensional structure of the enzymes in plant and microbial cells responsible for the creation of this diverse array of bioactive compounds, his group is also engineering new specificities into these pathways to create novel products using a structurally-guided approach. Moreover, as part of these new initiative in chemistry, Joe’s group is employing creative new approaches in synthetic chemistry to create new chemicals from natural sources as leads for pharmaceutical development. Finally, Dr. Noel is a scientific co-founder of a new biotechnology company known as Allylix, Inc. with corporate headquarters in San Diego, California and laboratory facilities in Lexington, Kentucky. Allylix is re-defining how specialty chemicals are produced for the flavor & fragrance, agriculture and pharmaceutical industries. Using nature’s genetic blueprints, Allylix develops state of the art technology platforms to create and obtain rare natural products in readily scalable systems then employs new methods in diversity oriented organic synthesis to create molecules for the industry groups mentioned above.