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(All photographs by Jim Lyle, Texas A&M Transportation Institute.)

COLLEGE STATION --

Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Dr. Tadhg P. Begley, the Robert A. Welch Chair and Derek Barton Professor in Chemistry at Texas A&M University, has been recognized with the American Chemical Society (ACS) 2016 Repligen Corporation Award in Chemistry of Biological Processes for his career contributions to the mechanistic enzymology of vitamin (cofactor) biosynthesis.

Established in 1985 and administered by the ACS Division of Biological Chemistry, the annual award honors select members "for outstanding contributions to the understanding of biological processes, with particular emphasis on structure, function and mechanism."

Begley will be presented with the award, which includes a silver medal and an honorarium, at the 251st ACS National Meeting, to be held August 21-15 in Philadelphia.

Begley, a world-class chemist, joined the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry faculty in 2009 following a distinguished 23-year career at Cornell University. His research involves an innovative combination of molecular biology, protein biochemistry, organic synthesis and structural studies to explore the mechanistic enzymology of vitamin biosynthesis. He has made important contributions to our understanding of the biosynthesis of thiamin, NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, a coenzyme found in all living cells), molybdopterin, menaquinone, pyridoxal, cobalamin, coenzyme A and the deazaflavin F420. In the course of this research he has uncovered a treasure trove of new chemistry demonstrating nature's versatility in assembling these key metabolites.

"My research program benefitted greatly from a structural biology collaboration with Steve Ealick at Cornell that resulted in more than 70 joint publications," Begley said. "My only regret in receiving this award is that it cannot be shared equally with Steve."

Begley's previous research-related honors include a prestigious MERIT (Method to Expand Research in Time) Award from the National Institutes of Health (2008), an honorary doctorate from the National University of Ireland in Dublin and the Newton-Abraham Visiting Professorship at Oxford University. He has organized several national and international conferences and served on the editorial boards for Molecular Biosystems, Vitamins and Hormones, Bioorganic Chemistry, Comprehensive Natural Products Chemistry and the Journal of Biological Chemistry. In addition, Begley has served as editor of the four-volume Wiley Encyclopedia of Chemical Biology as well as a volume on cofactors in Comprehensive Natural Products Chemistry.

"I am delighted to see Tadhg being recognized by the ACS Division of Biological Chemistry in this fashion," said Dr. François P. Gabbaï, head of the Department of Chemistry and holder of the A.E. Martell Endowed Chair. "This award is a recognition that he richly deserves, based on his seminal contributions to the field of vitamin biosynthesis and its mechanisms. Such an honor also speaks to the ever-increasing quality of biological chemistry programs at Texas A&M. Congratulations, Tadhg!"

Widely regarded as a dedicated educator and mentor, Begley served as the principal investigator for the NIH-sponsored Young Faculty Mentoring Workshop (2010-2015) and has trained a large number of students and postdocs in his laboratory.

"The greatest pleasure in my professional life is mentoring my students and sharing with them the excitement of discovery," Begley said. "This award is largely due to their creativity, experimental skills and dedication. Many of the problems we have solved were very challenging, and without these outstanding students, little would have been accomplished."

At Texas A&M, Begley says he is especially interested in curriculum development relevant to the teaching of chemistry to students pursuing careers in the biological sciences. He authored with John McMurry The Organic Chemistry of Biological Pathways, a widely used undergraduate textbook that has now been translated into Japanese, Chinese, German, Italian and French. He also has developed a new course on the biosynthesis of natural products and is currently developing a course on the organic chemistry of drug design.

Begley received his bachelor's of science degree from the National University of Ireland in Cork, his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the California Institute of Technology (with Peter Dervan) and completed postdoctoral studies at the University of Geneva (with Wolfgang Oppolzer) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (with Christopher Walsh) prior to accepting his initial professorial appointment at Cornell in 1986.

To learn more about Begley's research, go to http://www.chem.tamu.edu/rgroup/begley/.

Click here for additional information about the Repligen Award and previous recipients, which include fellow Texas A&M Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Frank M. Raushel in 2009.

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About Research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world's leading research institutions, Texas A&M is at the forefront in making significant contributions to the storehouse of knowledge, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represented annual expenditures of more than $820 million in FY 2013, ranking Texas A&M in the top 20 of the National Science Foundation's most recent survey of research and development expenditures among U.S. colleges and universities. Recently reported FY 2014 research expenditures exceed $854 million. That research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting in many cases in economic benefits to the state, nation and world. To learn more, visit http://research.tamu.edu.

About the American Chemical Society: The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio. For more information, go to http://www.acs.org/.

-aTm-

Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Tadhg P. Begley, (979) 862-4091 or begley@chem.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Dr. Tadhg P. Begley

  • The Begley Group

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