Category Archives: Recent News

Enrico Di Cera Receives SIBPA Award

Congratulations to Enrico Di Cera, M.D., who received the Marina Diana Mercurio Award at the 2016 Italian Society for Pure and Applied Biophysics (SIBPA) meeting, which was held in Cortona, Italy, September 18-21, 2016.

The award is given to a scientist whose innovative and interdisciplinary contributions shed light on human disease. Dr. Di Cera gave a talk upon accepting the award, which he shared with Leone Montagnini, Ph.D., of Biblioteche di Roma. The award announcement can be viewed on the SIBPA site.

Enrico Di Cera: “Not a Structural Biologist”

Enrico Di Cera was interviewed for SBGrid Consortium, a website that provides software infrastructure and scientific applications to support the research activities of structural biologists.

His story, which appears in the “Member Tales” section, highlights the careers and research accomplishments of selected SBGrid members. In his interview, Enrico stated that he is not a structural biologist, despite spending a good portion of his career studying the structure of thrombin and related coagulation proteins. Read the full article on the SBGrid site.

Nicola Pozzi Receives Arch Grant

Congratulations to Nicola Pozzi, Ph.D., Research Associate in the department, whose company, Hemadvance, was awarded a $50,000 Arch Grant in the 2015 Winter Global Startup Competition. Hemadvance was one of 11 other companies that received grants. The mission of Hemadvance is to develop new ways to diagnose, manage, and treat cardiovascular disorders.
Arch Grants are awarded twice per year and aim to attract and retain innovative entrepreneurs to the St. Louis area. The awardees were announced in several publications, including the St. Louis Business Journal.

Di Cera Receives Fellows Award

Congratulations to Enrico Di Cera, who received the Outstanding St. Louis Scientist and Fellows Awards from the Academy of Science of St. Louis. The Academy presents the Outstanding Scientist Awards annually in order to recognize the St. Louis area’s individuals and institutions making unique and significant contributions to science, research, and industry.

Enrico was elected as a Fellow of the Academy, an award which recognizes a distinguished individual for outstanding achievement in science. Enrico’s pioneering research in the field of structural biology and ligand binding in blood coagulation has advanced the field and resulted in the development of novel therapies for blood clots and thrombosis. The awards were presented at the Chase Park Plaza Starlight Ballroom on Thursday, April 9, 2015.

You can read more about the Academy and the awards at the Academy website.

Crystals and Kringles

The Di Cera lab recently published a paper in the May issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study is the first to show crystallization of prothrombin, a key factor in the clotting cascade. Prothrombin is the inactive form of thrombin and is converted to thrombin after the coagulation is initiated due to a vascular injury or other vascular event.

The researchers published the structure of prothrombin in a previous paper, but it was not complete and did not show how the molecule interacted with membranes and other molecules. Prothrombin contains two Kringle domains connected by a disordered linker section. Once the linker section was deleted, the researchers were able to grow prothrombin crystals at a much faster rate and revealed the full structure of the molecule.

You can read the full story in SLU Newslink.