WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Leslie B. Poole, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, has been named director of the Center for Structural Biology.
The announcement came from Douglas S. Lyles, Ph.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Biochemistry, who said that the founding directors of the center, Al Claiborne, Ph.D., and Mark Lively III, Ph.D., “decided to step down after a number of years of extensive effort in establishing the center and raising its profile in the field of structural biology.”
The Center for Structural Biology (CSB) is a multidisciplinary organization that combines Wake Forest research and educational resources from Health Sciences, the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the undergraduate college and is housed at the Bowman Gray Technical Center. The center focuses on describing the structure of proteins and other molecules at the level of individual atoms, using a variety of high-tech equipment.
Poole’s research is primarily on antioxidant enzymes, which play a major role in conditions such as inflammation, cancer and aging.
“Dr. Poole has an extensive track record of research in the area of structural biology of antioxidant enzymes,” Lyles said. “She was awarded the Mid-Career Investigator in Basic Science Award from Wake Forest University School of Medicine last year, which was the first year the award was offered. She has been very active in promoting the research and educational programs of the center, and has a clear vision of the mission and potential for the CSB.”
She is a magna cum laude graduate of Wake Forest University, where she majored in biology and chemistry, and earned her Ph.D. in 1988, also from Wake Forest. She did postdoctoral studies at the University of Maryland from 1988 to 1991. She returned to Wake Forest as assistant professor of biochemistry in 1992 and reached the rank of professor earlier this year.
As an undergraduate, she was awarded a National Science Foundation research fellowship, which she used to conduct research in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Delaware. She spent two years in the Peace Corps, teaching on the island of Borneo in Malaysia.
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Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine. U.S. News & World Report ranks Wake Forest University School of Medicine 18th in family medicine, 20th in geriatrics, 25th in primary care and 41st in research among the nation's medical schools. It ranks 35th in research funding by the National Institutes of Health. Almost 150 members of the medical school faculty are listed in Best Doctors in America.