Newswise — New York University is launching a Chemical Biology Initiative, committing to six new tenure-track positions in its Chemistry Department, the renovation of nearly 70,000 square feet of lab space, and a multi-disciplinary approach to develop molecular solutions to challenges in both biology and medicine.

The initiative will involve multiple schools and departments, including the Departments of Biology and Chemistry in the Faculty of Arts and Science, the School of Medicine, and the Tandon School of Engineering. It will focus on four core areas: cancer chemical biology, chemical immunology, chemical neuroscience, and molecular spectroscopy and imaging. 

The Chemical Biology Initiative is emblematic of a strategic approach to the sciences outlined by NYU President Andrew Hamilton, himself an organic chemist. President Hamilton has emphasized advancing the sciences as one of his key priorities.  

President Hamilton said, “As scientific breakthroughs enhance our understanding of the biological mechanisms behind cancer, heart disease, and other afflictions, the solutions sought to address these conditions require intricate chemical approaches—through the creation of more sophisticated pharmaceuticals and other interventions. These developments involve a range of synthetic and analytical techniques to elucidate and manipulate biological systems, which can then lead to new therapeutic solutions. At NYU we will build on existing expertise while adding new collaborations across the University.”

The initiative enhances existing NYU strengths in the natural sciences. These include the Department of Chemistry’s research in the area of macromolecular biophysics and departmental work in the design and application of biomimetic molecules to disrupt protein-protein interactions and in the synthesis of bioactive small molecules. The initiative will also leverage and build on the current expertise in the Department of Biology in genomics and proteomics and in the School of Medicine on disease biology to explore approaches to discover and identify novel drugs and targets. 

In addition to newly renovated space, the initiative will benefit from a new ultra-high field (800 MHz) nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer, which is key to unpacking the make-up of biomolecules and which will supplement existing NMR instruments. These will be supplemented by a top-line electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) instrument, funded in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

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