Renee Bouley, a third year graduate student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been selected to receive a prestigious American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Medicinal Chemistry Predoctoral Fellowship. Bouley is one of only four recipients chosen for the 2013-2014 cycle.
This award supports doctoral candidates working in the area of medicinal chemistry who have demonstrated superior achievements as graduate students and who show potential for future work as independent investigators. These fellowships have been awarded annually since 1991 and include one year stipend support and an invitation to present the fellow's research results at a special awards session at the ACS National Meeting.
Bouley's work, conducted under the advisement of faculty members Shahriar Mobashery and Mayland Chang, centers around the discovery of a new class of antibiotics that are selective against staphylococcal species of bacteria, including hard-to-treat methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). She has already identified a class of compounds that has in vitro activity against bacteria and demonstrated efficacy in mice. Bouley spent three months in 2012 in the laboratory of Prof. Juan Hermoso at Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas in Madrid, Spain, where she solved the crystal structure of the lead compound in complex with its target protein. Her studies have shown an unprecedented mechanism of action that opens opportunities for clinical resurrection of β-lactam antibiotics in combination with the new antibiotics. Bouley's work during her fellowship tenure will explore structural analogs of these compounds with the goal of optimizing their potency in vivo and improving their drug-like properties.
Bouley is already the recipient of a National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award-CBBI (Chemistry-Biology-Biochemistry Interface) Program, a CBBI Research Internship Award, and an American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship (declined).