FSU chemistry professor named fellow of Biophysical Society

Timothy A. Cross

A Florida State University professor whose research on protein membranes could one day lead to more effective drugs for treating diseases such as influenza type A and tuberculosis has been named a fellow of the prestigious Biophysical Society.

Timothy A. Cross, the Earl Frieden Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at FSU and director of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory’s Nuclear Magnetic Resonance program, is one of only five scientists recognized this year by the Biophysical Society out of its membership of 8,000.

"This award is a credit to the excellent students I have had through the chemistry and biochemistry department and the Molecular Biophysics Graduate Program at Florida State University," Cross said. "It is also a credit to the strength of the biological activities at the magnet lab in our service to the biophysics community."

In announcing the honor, the Biophysical Society (www.biophysics.org) recognized Cross’ "scientific accomplishments and leadership in the field of solid-state NMR methods to the biophysical characterization of membrane proteins, and for service to the scientific community." He will be formally recognized at the joint meeting of the Biophysical Society 52nd Annual Meeting and the 16th International Biophysics Congress in Long Beach, Calif., on Feb. 4, 2008.

"Only one in a thousand members of the Biophysical Society receive this award each year," said Joseph Schlenoff, the Mandelkern Professor of Polymer Science and chairman of the department of chemistry and biochemistry at FSU. "The rarity of the award speaks volumes as to the accomplishments of our colleague. We are very pleased that Professor Cross’ seminal contributions to biochemistry and biophysics were recognized in this way."

Cross’ research focuses on understanding the chemistry, structure and function of membrane proteins. With unique resources at the magnet lab, he is developing images of these proteins that coat bacterial cells and viruses. Such images could be the key to discovering novel drugs to battle drug-resistant strains of infectious diseases. By knowing the shape and having a knowledge of the protein chemistry, drugs that target these proteins and hinder their biological function in the bacterial and viral life cycles can be more easily designed. Cross currently is working on proteins involved in influenza type A and tuberculosis, which kill millions of people worldwide each year.

The Biophysical Society was founded in 1957 to encourage development and dissemination of knowledge in biophysics. The society’s members work in academia, industry and government agencies throughout the world.