Scott Showalter receives NSF CAREER Award

Scott Showalter, assistant professor of chemistry at Penn State, has received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The CAREER award is the NSF's most prestigious award in support of junior faculty members who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent teaching and the integration of education and research. The award provides five years of financial support.

Showalter is a biophysical chemist who uses experimental and computational techniques to study biological macromolecules, such as proteins and nucleic acids, with a focus on the relationship between structure, dynamics and function. One focus of his research is the development of novel methods for analyzing dynamics information for highly flexible and instrinsically disordered biomolecular systems. In particular, he uses nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to investigate the implications of protein dynamics and disorder in the processes of protein-mediated signaling and tumor formation and suppression.

From 2005 to 2008, Showalter was a postdoctoral fellow at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, where he designed a quantitative method that used experimental NMR data to validate computer-simulation models of biomolecules. Seeking to apply his methods to a system of medical importance, he also initiated an investigation into the oncoprotein MDM2, which is involved in tumor growth, and its interaction with the tumor-suppressor protein p53. The pharmaceutical industry is actively developing compounds that target this interaction for the purpose of generating a novel chemotherapeutic agent. Showalter's study significantly advanced understanding of how one such compound, nutlin-3, regulates the interaction between MDM2 and p53.

In 2005 he received a National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellowship and in 2000 he received a National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship. He also is the recipient of a Collins Undergraduate Teaching Award.  howalter received a doctorate at Washington University in St. Louis in 2004 and a bachelor's degree at Cornell University in 1999.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010