November 4, 2014

Byron Purse

Byron Purse, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Organic Chemistry

  • Assistant Professor, San Diego State University, 2013
  • Assistant Professor, University of Denver, 2008–2013
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Bäckvall Group, Stockholm University, Sweden, 2006–2008
  • PhD in Organic Chemistry, Rebek Group, TSRI, La Jolla, California, 2000–2005
  • BSc High Honours in Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Regina, Canada, 1996–2000.

Nucleosides are the building blocks of DNA and RNA, the molecules that store the genetic code. In addition to this role, they are used as the energy currency of cells (ATP is a nucleoside triphosphate), for controlling chemistry in cells (catalytic RNA in ribosomes). Chemists have an interested in modifying the structures of nucleosides to make new molecular probes and therapeutic drugs. Many important medicines are derivatives of nucleosides that “trick” infected or malignant cells into using the “unnatural” nucleoside by mistake during DNA replication. This modus operandi is how azidothymidine (AZT) attacks the HIV virus, gemcitabine kills breast cancer cells, and acyclovir slows the spread and growth of the Herpes virus. Our lab is interested in developing new nucleoside analogues both for unmet biomedical needs.

Rob Edwards

Rob Edwards, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Computer Science

Area of Excellence in Viromics

  • Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, SDSU (2011-present)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, SDSU (2007-2011)
  • Visiting Scientist, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL (2007-present)
  • Fellow, Fellowship for Interpretation of Genomes (2004-present)
  • Director Bioinformatics, University of Tennessee Medical Center (2001-2004)
  • Assistant Professor of Microbiology, Department of Molecular Sciences, University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, Memphis, TN (2000-2004)
  • Consultant, Integrated Genomics, Inc, Chicago, IL (1999-2002)
  • Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana (1997-2000)
  • Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Molecular genetic studies on the fimbriae of enterotoxigenic E. coli (1994-1997)
  • D. Phil. Microbial Genetics. University of Sussex, Brighton, England (1991-1994)
  • B.Sc. Science and the Environment, De Montfort University, Leicester, England (1987-1991)

Rob’s group focuses on the interface between Computer Science and Biology, with an emphasis on microbial biology. Microbes are the most important living organisms, responsible for both the bad things that we live with such as infection and disease, as well as the good things like bread and wine. Microbes themselves are affected by viruses, and one aspect of my research is to understand the viruses and how they alter the microbes behavior. We work closely with biologists, focused on data analysis and discovery. Our colleagues in biology generate large amounts of DNA sequence data and we write software to unravel the functions encoded by these letters. Many of our recent discoveries are focused on the discovery of new viruses.

Rob has collaborations all over the world, and has taught in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. The Department of Education through the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education and the Brazilian Ministry of Education funded our marine sciences collaborations in Brazil and the US.

Karen May-Newman

Karen May-Newman, Ph.D.

Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Director, Bioengineering Program

  • Professor, San Diego State University (2008-present)
  • Associate Professor, San Diego State University (2003-2008)
  • Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering, SDSU (1998-2003)
  • Senior research scientist, Alliance Pharmaceutical Corp. (1996-1998)
  • Postdoctoral training in Cardiology at Johns Hopkins University (1993-1996)
  • Ph.D in Bioengineering from UCSD (1993)
  • M.S. Engineering Sciences, UCSD (1990)
  • B.S. Applied Mechanics and Engineering Science, UCSD (1988)

Karen’s research is in the area of Cardiovascular Biomechanics with a focus on the mechanical interaction of the cardiovascular system with implanted medical devices, such as heart valves and left ventricular assist devices (LVAD). A LVAD is a pump that is surgically connected to the heart and aorta in order to boost systemic blood flow. These devices produce chronic alterations in cardiovascular mechanics that lead to pathological problems such as thrombosis and tissue remodeling. Her lab investigates these altered biomechanics in LVAD patients using a specially designed mock loop, the SDSU Cardiac Simulator. The simulator is designed to reproduce the pressure and flow dynamics of the human cardiovascular system in vitro, in order to test medical devices including LVADs.

Karen also serves as the faculty advisor to the SDSU Society of Women Engineers.