Newswise — Dr. Christopher T. Nomura, a professor in the Department of Chemistry at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse, New York, has been appointed vice president for research at the college.

Nomura, who joined the ESF faculty in 2006, will transition into the new position beginning this month. He takes over leadership of a research program that tallies about $16 million in expenditures annually.

Research at ESF includes aquatic ecosystems, bioenergy, biotechnology, biodiversity, ecology, genetic engineering, nanotechnology, remote sensing, wildlife disease prevention and many others. The college currently has about 250 active research projects.

"Dr. Nomura's interest in interdisciplinary work and breaking down barriers to collaboration should serve ESF well,” said ESF President Quentin Wheeler. “He is a prolific researcher who has published and co-authored more than 50 original articles, which gives him extensive experience in the challenges our research scientists face. I’m excited about having him as part of our leadership team as we advance ESF’s research programs."

“I’m excited about the opportunity to enhance the visibility and reach of ESF’s research footprint,” Nomura said. “As someone with a strong and diverse research background, I think I can offer some new insights and create more momentum behind what the college is doing.”

He is particularly interested in breaking down barriers to collaboration.

“Our research office does a fantastic job,” Nomura said. “I hope I can influence the decision-making process in ways that will be beneficial to the college.”

As a professor, Nomura leads an interdisciplinary research group that focuses on discovering new therapeutic strategies to cure cancer, with a particular focus on aggressive breast cancers. He is a member of the ESF Center for Applied Microbiology and the Syracuse Biomaterials Institute, and is the Chutian Visiting Lecturer at Hubei University in Wuhan, China.

He received the ESF Exemplary Researcher Award in 2011 for his contributions to the field of biopolymer production and has received special recognition for his mentorship of student researchers. Nomura’s research programs have been sponsored by agencies that include the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and the Research Foundation of SUNY.

Nomura received his B.A. in biology with honors from the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he studied immunology and physiology of elephant seals, and his Ph.D. in biochemistry, microbiology and molecular biology at the Pennsylvania State University for his research on cyanobacterial electron transport proteins. From 2001 to 2006, he worked in the internationally recognized natural polymer chemistry laboratory of Dr. Yoshiharu Doi at the RIKEN Institute in Japan.

He has published and co-authored more than 50 original articles in refereed scientific journals, including three reviews, seven book chapters and five patent disclosures. His multi-disciplinary research group has interests that span the fields of metabolic engineering, protein engineering, microbial physiology, molecular microbiology, biochemistry, synthetic chemistry and polymer chemistry.