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.
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.
Enrico Di Cera, M.D., and Sergey Korolev, Ph.D., recently sent protein crystallization samples into space aboard the Space X Dragon capsule. The samples will spend several months at the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory before returning to Earth for analysis.
You can read the full story in Newslink. A full outline of the research can be found on the NASA site.