Yimon Aye, assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology, has been named a recipient of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award. Aye, recently named a Beckman Young Investigator, is a Milstein Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow and is also an assistant professor of biochemistry in Weill Cornell Medical College’s Department of Biochemistry.
Hundreds of early investigators from the nation’s top institutions compete annually for the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. The five-year, $2.29 million grant supports “exceptionally creative new investigators who propose highly innovative projects that have the potential for unusually high biomedical impact,” according to the program description. Aye will attend the NIH High Risk-High Reward Research Symposium in December in Bethesda, Maryland.
Aye’s project is called “Deconvoluting redox biology with targeted chemistry.” Redox is a chemical process in which sets of atoms or molecules have their oxidation states mutually changed. During redox regulation, signals are relayed through modifications of redox-responsive proteins. These events in turn orchestrate specific downstream responses. Disturbance to these redox-signaling pathways underlies many human diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disorders. Links between disease and individual redox signaling events remain a mystery for researchers.
The Aye lab has developed a novel chemistry-driven technique aimed at directly linking individual biological responses to chemical redox alteration of specific target proteins. The method could prove a novel gateway to elucidating the basic biology of redox signaling deregulation that underlies many diseases.