Awards Database

Cottrell Scholar Awards - 2013

Jorge Torres

University of California, Los Angeles

Novel Chemical Probes for Dissecting the Mechanisms of Cell Division

Living cells grow by dividing. The process, called mitosis, generally results in two genetically identical cells. Unfortunately, biochemists’ ability to understand precisely how mitosis works has been hampered by a lack of highly selective chemical probes. Torres aims to address this issue. He and his associates have already identified a number of interesting compounds that inhibit cell division. In this project he will analyze the compounds and pinpoint which proteins they target. He notes, “This study will have an immediate impact on the field of cell biology by providing critical tools which can be used to dissect and increase our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms required for cell division.” Torres proposes to integrate this research into a new education course for chemistry and biochemistry undergraduate students. This course will encourage independent, critical thinking, provide opportunities to engage in research, and, ultimately, help students publish their findings in scientific journals. In the process students will gain the confidence, skills and training needed to be competitive in the next phase of their scientific careers.

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