Theodore Betley, Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and Victoria D’Souza, associate professor of molecular and cellular biology, were recently named as the recipients of the 2011 George W. Merck Fellowship.
Awarded annually, the two-year fellowship recognizes outstanding research by tenure-track faculty. Nominees are selected by faculty based on the innovation and impact of their research, and their potential for greater achievement. Winners are selected by Jeremy Bloxham, dean of science at Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Betley’s research focuses on catalyst discovery – specifically those that can convert less desirable chemicals like greenhouse gases into value-added commodity chemicals. Developing catalysts of this sort can impact both energy conversion strategies for renewable energy and the chemical industry by streamlining the generation of complex chemical structures with minimal waste generation.
D’Souza works to elucidate the structural aspects of retroviral replication, including the initiation of reverse transcription, transcription, and translation of viral genes. Her research has led to discoveries that have implications for new antiviral therapeutics to combat cancers and viral infections, such as HIV and Moloney murine leukemia virus (MoMLV).
The fellowships are made possible by the George W. Merck Fund of the New York Community Trust.