Dr. Christian B. Hilty, a newly hired assistant professor of chemistry at Texas A&M University, has been recognized with a Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award for 2006.

Established in 1979 by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, the $50,000 award is designed to provide new faculty working in chemistry, biochemistry or chemical engineering with vital research support as they begin their first full-time academic appointments. Awards are open to all chemistry, biochemistry or chemical engineering doctoral degree-granting institutions in the United States and are based on evidence that the nominee has the potential to produce an independent body of scientific scholarship of outstanding quality and will make significant contributions to overall education in the chemical sciences.

Hilty, one of only 12 recipients nationwide of the highly competitive award, was selected on the basis of his early accomplishments and future potential in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and hyper-polarization techniques. He is the second Texas A&M chemist to merit the prestigious honor in the past three years.

"Once again, Chemistry has been able to attract a truly outstanding young faculty member," said Dr. H. Joseph Newton, dean of the College of Science.

Hilty, who joins the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry faculty this month, recently completed a post-doctoral research appointment at the University of California at Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he used hyper-polarization techniques to enhance NMR and imaging. He received both his undergraduate degree and doctorate from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, studying membrane proteins using NMR and earning the Groupement AMPERE's 2005 Raymond Andrew Prize in recognition of his outstanding doctoral thesis in magnetic resonance.

At Texas A&M, Hilty plans to apply and further develop modern techniques in NMR to determine the structure and functional mechanisms of membrane proteins at the atomic level. In particular, he will study aspects of membrane biogenesis, transport and signaling in an effort to develop new hyper-polarization strategies that will extend the applicability of NMR to a large number of membrane protein systems that cannot be studied with conventional methods due to low sensitivity. He hopes these new strategies will open the door to investigating processes, such as ligand binding, which should lead to basic insights into signaling processes and possible new methods of drug discovery.

"We are delighted to see Dr. Hilty recognized for his expertise and creativity in studying proteins with magnetic resonance," said Dr. Emile A. Schweikert, professor and head of the Department of Chemistry. "He is pioneering the new technology of dynamic nuclear polarization, which holds great promise for elucidating the structural dynamics of proteins in biological membranes. Understanding membrane proteins is key for drug discovery."

To learn more about Hilty and his research, visit http://www.chem.tamu.edu/faculty/faculty_detail.php?ID=1423.

For more on the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, go to http://www.dreyfus.org/.


Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Christian Hilty, chilty@mail.chem.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Powerful Potential

    Dr. Christian B. Hilty, one of 12 only recipients nationwide of the Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award in 2006, is the second Texas A&M chemist to win the prestigious honor in the past three years.

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