Home » CBC Faculty Receive 2018 Galileo Circle Awards

CBC Faculty Receive 2018 Galileo Circle Awards

The College of Science and Dean Joaquin Ruiz are pleased to announce the 2018 Galileo Circle Fellows and Galileo Circle Copernicus Awardees.

Two distinguished faculty members of the University of Arizona College of Science have been named 2018 Galileo Circle Fellows, one of the highest honors bestowed upon faculty in the College. These awards, established through the generosity of Galileo Circle members, recognize outstanding accomplishments in academic scholarship. Each Fellow receives $5,000 and lifetime membership in the Galileo Circle. Galileo Circle Fellows are the epitome of the academic scholar, with a deep understanding over a broad range of science, a willingness to think in a truly interdisciplinary way, and an ability to inspire colleagues and students alike.

The Galileo Circle Copernicus Award is one of the highest honors the College of Science can bestow on its non-tenure eligible faculty, appointed personnel or classified staff. These awards, established through the generosity of Galileo Circle members, recognize individuals whose extraordinary accomplishments significantly advance the mission of a department and the knowledge base of a discipline. Each Copernicus Awardee receives $2,500 and lifetime membership in the Galileo Circle.

Professor S. Scott Saavedra has been selected as a 2018 Galileo Circle Fellow. Scott has been a member of the University of Arizona faculty since 1991 and has led numerous interdisciplinary research projects spanning the fields of analytical/physical chemistry, materials science, optics and spectroscopy, biophysics, and measurement science, with an emphasis on development of methods to characterize thin films and interfaces. The research activities of his group have been supported by grants from NIH, NSF, DOE and private foundations, and have been published in over 130 journal articles and book chapters. Scott is best known for his development of spectroscopic platforms that have provided key insights into the structure and function of artificial biomolecular assemblies and solar energy conversion systems. The seminal publications by Scott’s group focused on the determination of molecular orientation in protein and proteo-lipid assemblies and thin films of energy-converting molecules, and how orientation affects functional properties such as charge transfer, are acknowledged as the definitive work in both the biointerface and energy conversion communities. This type of impact in disparate disciplines is unusual in today’s compartmentalized scientific culture.

Research Professor Minying Cai has been selected as one of the 2018 Galileo Circle Copernicus Awardees. She has been working in the Chemistry & Biochemistry department for more than 19 years and has more than 100 publications and numerous patents in the area of novel drug discovery for obesity, diabetes, cancer, pain and neuro-disorder diseases. Dr. Cai received the Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics in 2004. Before that, she was a well-developed researcher at the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica; Shanghai Research Center of Biotechnology in Chinese Academy of Sciences. Dr. Cai has been working on peptide-based drug discovery for more than 26 years. Her research discovers and determines structural information on peptides and proteins to design drugs to more effectively treat human disease. She is working on projects at the interface of chemical biology, molecular pharmacology and molecular biology within the areas of:

  1. Structure-based drug design and synthesis of GPCR ligands, including developing selective human melanocortin receptors (hMCRs) ligands;
  2. Developing novel biophysics tools for molecular imaging; novel molecular biomarker; high-throughput screening system, etc.
  3. Exploiting novel scaffold via computational chemistry for small molecule therapeutics for energy balance and cancer study; and
  4. Exploring the novel physiological functions of melanocortin system involved. In collaboration with other investigators worldwide, she aims to identify and develop molecule modulators of GPCRs for the therapeutic treatment of melanoma, metabolic and central nervous system disorders.

Congratulations, Scott and Minying!

Monday, December 18, 2017