Stephen J. Benkovic

The Pennsylvania State University


Primary Section: 14, Chemistry
Secondary Section: 29, Biophysics and Computational Biology
Membership Type: Member (elected 1985)

Biosketch

Dr. Stephen J. Benkovic is Evan Pugh University Professor and Eberly Chair in Chemistry at The Pennsylvania State University. He is a pioneer in bioorganic chemistry whose highly original work has had a profound impact on our understanding of how proteins function as catalysts. His research has been fundamental in the design of new treatments for bacterial infections, antifungals, HIV, and cancer. Benkovic’s recent work focuses on the assembly and kinetic characteristics of the enzymatic machinery responsible for DNA replication, DNA repair, and the synthesis of purines. He has been recognized by awards including the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science, the National Medal of Science, and the National Academy of Science Award in Chemical Sciences. He is also a member of the National Academy of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Inventors. Benkovic holds 28 U.S. and 7 foreign patents and has published more than 625 articles, books, and book chapters. He cofounded Anacor Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer in 2016) and Boragen. Anacor used his research on boron to discover small-molecule therapeutics for a variety of diseases; Boragen develops anti-fungicides that are useful in agriculture and in other applications. He has served on Scientific Advisory Boards for Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Corning, GSK and as an adviser to Kaufman and Vallee Foundations.      

Research Interests

Chemistry related to biological systems: assembly, disassembly and activity of the T4 replisome; mechanism of action of tetrahydrofolate requiring enzymes; the importance of coupled networks in enzymic catalysis; modular design of biological catalysts; and DNA methylation systems.

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