Gokhale becomes government secretary for biotechnology
Rajesh Gokhale, who studies tuberculosis at the Indian National Institute of Immunology in New Delhi, has been appointed secretary of the Indian Department of Biotechnology. He took up his duties in this new position on November 1.
The Department of Biotechnology, which is part of the Ministry of Science and Technology, funds scholarships, research prizes, and scientific training efforts; coordinates large studies such as the cataloging of genetic variations in India; administers basic facilities for advanced imaging, electron microscopy and mass spectrometry; and supports independent research institutes with a variety of focus areas. As secretary of the department, Gokhale will be the second to Minister of Biotechnology Jitendra Singh, who reports to the Prime Minister of India.
Gokhale’s research focuses on Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the pathogen that causes tuberculosis, and its metabolism. He studies polyketide synthases, which generate a wide variety of metabolites that contribute to pathogenicity. He also studied skin pigmentation, contributing to the scientific understanding of vitiligo, an autoimmune disease.
Gokhale is a former member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry and a former International Researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In addition to other accolades, he is a member of National Academy of Sciences of India, National Academy of Sciences of India and Academy of Sciences of India.
Young graduates award for Wencewicz
Timothy Wencewicz, associate professor at Washington University in St. Louis, received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award from the Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Association in October.
Wencewicz studies antimicrobial resistance, including research into microbial enzymes that break down and inactivate currently available antibiotics. He investigated potential new antimicrobial delivery systems, such as the conjugation of an antimicrobial agent to a siderophore, a type of iron-conjugating molecule that many microbes use to scavenge iron from the environment, in order to to get the antimicrobial molecule into the cell.
After attending Southeast Missouri State University as an undergraduate student, Wencewicz earned his doctorate. in chemistry at the University of Notre Dame and completed postgraduate training at Harvard Medical School. He returned to Missouri in 2013 to join the faculty at the University of Washington.
Wencewicz sits on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Biological Chemistry and the Journal of Antibiotics. In addition to this recent honor, he received a Cottrell Scholar award, a Camille Dreyfus teacher-researcher award and a Sloan fellowship in chemistry.