UB Investigator Secures $2m ‘MIRA’ Grant for Enzyme & Cancer Research

Feb 18, 2020 | MIRA Grant, NIH, SUNY Upstate Medical University, UB, University of Buffalo

UB Investigator Secures $2m ‘MIRA’ Grant for Enzyme & Cancer Research

The National Institutes of Health has granted $2 million to UB Chemistry professor John Richard, an expert in enzymes research. The five-year grant will help Dr. Richard pursue his research centering on the importance of enzymes to cancer. Dr. Richard is on a mission to learn how to turn an enzyme on or off.

The SUNY distinguished professor of chemistry underscores the very first question a scientist should ask: Why? Scientists cannot stand by and let the status quo run things. They must not be “willing to accept things at face value.”


The research grant will support a collaborative from the Jacobs School of Medicine at University of Buffalo as well as scientists from as far away as Sweden and Japan.

Research Focus

Enzymes are important for a number of reasons including the fact they augment the acceleration of chemical reactions that are critical for life. For example, once someone eats, enzymes support the break down of food to generate energy. They are also responsible for helping the liver eliminate toxins from the body not to mention a number of other imperative functions.

Now led by Dr. Richard, the UB-led team will study the details of how enzymes perform their job. With a focus on understanding the molecular interactions that help enzymes accelerate chemical reactions.

The Award

The five-year, $2 million Maximizing Investigators Research Award (MIRA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) titled “Studies on enzyme activation and novel modes of inhibition” supports the researchers efforts to investigate a variety of problems linked to the mechanism of enzyme action and inhibition. 

Richard has received NIH funding since 1988 to support research on a variety of topics related to enzyme mechanisms. His research has contributed to subsequent translational research in the health sciences.

Lead Research/Investigator

Dr. John Richard, SUNY Distinguished Professor, Department of Chemistry

Source: UB Now


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