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DuPont Young Professors Award Goes to UB Faculty Member

Chemist Andrew Murkin will use DuPont grant funding to study novel formulas for herbicides

Release Date: July 31, 2012

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University at Buffalo chemist Andrew Murkin, PhD, was selected as one of nine scientists to receive a 2012 DuPont Young Professor grant.

Murkin, an assistant professor of chemistry, will use his $75,000 grant from DuPont to study novel formulas for a new generation of herbicides.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo chemist Andrew Murkin, PhD, was selected as one of nine scientists to receive a 2012 DuPont Young Professor grant, which funds highly original research by early-career investigators around the world.

Murkin, an assistant professor of chemistry, will use his $75,000 grant from DuPont to study novel formulas for a new generation of herbicides. The research will focus, in particular, on blocking the activity of enzymes that play a critical role in keeping certain weeds alive.

The DuPont Young Professor program, launched in 1967, supports promising young research faculty working in areas of interest to DuPont, and includes research in the fields of nanotechnology, genomics, system biology, next-generation herbicides, synthesis of natural products, carbon dioxide capture, DNA sequencing and enzymatic synthesis.

"It's an honor -- it's somewhat of a rare award," said Murkin, who joined UB in 2009 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

Murkin's UB laboratory studies the so-called transition state of chemical reactions -- the point in any chemical reaction where the energy is highest. Enzymes speed up reactions by stabilizing the transition state. Murkin and his colleagues aim to inhibit the activity of enzymes by designing compounds that resemble the transition state.

Much of Murkin's work on transition-state inhibitors relates to drug design. His DuPont Young Professors research on herbicides will also rely on his expertise in this area, identifying ways to halt chemical reactions that produce organic compounds necessary for plants to survive.

For a list of all of this year's DuPont Young Professors, visit http://www2.dupont.com/media/en-us/news-events/all-releases.html.

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