2020 News

Professor Enver Cagri Izgu Named an NIH 'Trailblazer'

Enver Izgu in LabThe Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology at the School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University congratulates Professor Enver Cagri Izgu on being named a National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) Trailblazer Award recipient.

This prestigious award, in the amount of $615,000 over two years, will support Professor Izgu's lab research in developing powerful technologies to investigate metabolites associated with human diseases and pathogens.

“My team and I are excited that our research program has been recognized by the NIH. We are determined to continue on this path towards building bioorthogonal platforms that will help us elucidate biochemical pathways and provide reliable diagnostic strategies.”

"The first step in finding a treatment for a disease is decoding the fundamental mechanisms that underlie its origination in cells. However, our understanding of aberrant metabolic pathways and pathogenesis remains limited, as most of our investigative methods interfere with native cellular processes. We see this as an engineering problem, and we have come up with new chemical designs and tricks that exploit a cell's own metabolism to elucidate its behavior. This approach has the potential to detect various critical human diseases at an early enough stage for effective intervention," explains Izgu.

"In its current state, our chemical design principle, which is centered around conditional interactions between small molecules and nucleic acid sequences, has the ability to reveal biological abnormalities associated with: mitochondrial dysfunction and oncogene activity; hepatic steatosis and subsequent progression into non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; and neuronal death in the late stages of Huntington's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease."

Professor Izgu joined the Rutgers CCB faculty in 2017. His team is working to advance biotechnology and medicine by combining organic chemistry, chemical biology, and materials chemistry.

The NIH/NIBIB Trailblazer Award is an opportunity for early-stage investigators to pursue high-impact research programs of high interest to the NIH and NIBIB at the interface of the life sciences and physical sciences.

Congratulations, Enver!