LSU’s Marcia Newcomer Selected to NIH Scientific Review Council

02/22/2012 08:22 AM

BATON ROUGE – LSU Biological Sciences Professor Marcia Newcomer has accepted an invitation to serve on the Macromolecular Structure and Function E-Study Section, or MSFE, of the Center for Scientific Review, or CSR, from July 1, 2012 until June 30, 2016.

As a member of the study section, Newcomer will review grant applications submitted to the National Institutes of Health, or NIH, recommend potential research projects to the appropriate NIH national advisory council or board, and survey the areas of research in her field of science.

“Marcia is an accomplished researcher and professor with a number of research grants to her credit,” said James Moroney, Ph.D., chair of LSU’s biological sciences department. “Her knowledge and understanding of NIH projects make her a strong asset to the study section.”

In addition to NIH, National Science Foundation and American Heart Association grant awards, she has also been recognized for her work on the structure of human Lipoxygenase, which was published in the Jan. 14 edition of “Science.”

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve on this review panel,” said Newcomer. “My participation will increase the LSU Department of Biological Sciences’ presence on NIH study sections and give me an opportunity to help identify some of the most innovative research in the structure and structure-function relationships of enzymes and their complexes.”

Newcomer earned a bachelor of science in chemistry from the College of Charleston and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Rice University. Her current research examines the molecular basis of initial events of inflammation with emphasis on the structural biology of enzymes that catalyze the biosynthesis of pro-and anti-inflammatory signaling molecules. Newcomer is particularly interested in the enzyme that initiates the synthesis of leukotrienes, which are inflammatory compounds that trigger asthma attacks. This enzyme is a target for the development of new asthma medications.

MSFE reviews a broad range of applications including theoretical, computational, and experimental methods such as quantum mechanics, molecular mechanics, kinetic, mechanistic and thermodynamic characterization of enzymes and their functions.

The CSR is the portal for NIH grant applications and their review for scientific merit. The Center receives about 80,000 applications a year and recruits more than 17,000 external experts to review the applications. This peer review system has enabled NIH to fund research that has led to the creation of major drugs, new medical treatments and cures for diseases. All NIH funds allocated to universities and medical centers are awarded though the CSR peer review system.

Ashley  Berthelot 
LSU Research Communications

Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2012