Tuesday, April 25, 2006

profile 8: dr. jonathan wilker

Wow, it feels like it's been a while since I posted but I was actually quite productive in lab today when I stumbled upon a paper by Jonathan Wilker. I decided to see if this person was sexyscientist material and I was quite pleased to see that he is.

Dr. Jonathan Wilker is an associate professor at Purdue focusing on inorganic chemistry (seemingly from reading, it seems like his focus is bioinorganic instead of traditional materials science-ish inorganic chemistry). Like many of our profiles he has a distinguished background with a B.S. at UMass-Amherst before going for his PhD at MIT and then a postdoctoral at Caltech. He's received several accolades including the NSF Career, and is Sloan Fellow and a Beckman Young Investigator. Apparently he's a really good teacher as well (dont we need these in undergrad..most definitely) and has been named one of the top ten teachers in the College of Science at Purdue.

As for his research, here's what he does..

"Biological Materials from the Oceans
We are exploring how biological systems produce materials. Our focus is upon marine biomaterials such as mussel adhesives, barnacle cements, and coral reef structures. Efforts are aimed at both understanding the principles behind biomaterial formation and developing applications for the unique properties inherent in these systems. Efforts to date have focused upon mussel adhesives, a material produced by extensive cross-linking to yield a protein-based matrix. We are working with synthetic inorganic complexes, small peptides, protein extracted from the animals, and live mussels. Synthetic, spectroscopic, biochemical, and materials engineering data all indicate that mussels use iron to cross-link proteins and form their adhesive. We are using this information to develop applications such as surgical adhesives and antifouling coatings. Studies are also being extended to other biological materials such as those produced by barnacles, sea stars, and kelp to see if metal-mediated protein cross-linking is a common theme in biomaterial formation.

Carcinogen Interception and Detoxification by Inorganic Compounds
Regular components of the diet such as selenium and vanadium are known to prevent chemically induced cancers. At this time however, little information is available about the potential mechanisms by which these inorganics prevent cancer. Our lab is studying detoxification reactions in which these inorganic species consume carcinogens, thereby preventing DNA damage and the ensuing cellular alterations. This work involves studying the reactivity of inorganic compounds toward toxins, DNA biochemistry, and whole cell studies. To date we have found that certain metal-oxo compounds such as vanadates can detoxify alkylating agents and prevent DNA damage. These results are being used to design a second generation of compounds for preventing cancer.

Metal-Linked Nucleic Acid Drug Design
Antisense therapy presents a promising avenue for future treatment of genetic-based diseases. The antisense approach relies upon binding of a nucleic acid-derived drug to an mRNA (or genetic) target in order to prevent expression of a disease causing protein. Standard nucleic acids have high specificity for these mRNA targets but low stability in cells. In an effort to develop superior drugs, we are preparing a new class of nucleic acids in which metal complexes play novel structural and charge roles in the DNA backbone. The phosphate of DNA is replaced by various metal-ligand complexes, thereby imparting unique properties of these complexes to the drug. This work involves drug synthesis, biochemical binding assays, and cellular studies. " Jon Wilker at Purdue

Now for what you all came the see..the hotness analysis...

Here we have Jon with one of his PhD graduates. I really like the Hawaiian shirt, gives him a very youthful vibe. Looking at this I can see why he won, he's pretty hot for a prof. I'd take his classes for sure ;). It's not very often you can see a professor in a relaxed picture like this so let us cherish this moment.

Now for the final score!

Jon Wilker is a...HABANERO!

(How do we do scores now? We do them by committee and then we average the scores. So yes..we now do it by committee. Want to join? IM me for details!)


Katrine said...

I love love love your blog. My best friend is a Chem E at MIT and we met a postdoc hottie named Baron Peters there. Try profiling him if you happen to find a good picture!

PS - Regan at Texas is my friend's fiance

Rick Lee said...
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Lindsey said...
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