BLACKSBURG, Va., April 09, 2010 - Chris Lawrence, associate professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech and associate professor in Virginia Tech's Department of Biological Sciences, has been appointed as an advisor, scientific collaborator, and co-founder of AlerGenetica SL. AlerGenetica is a healthcare biotechnology company dedicated to improving the quality of life of patients suffering from debilitating and potentially life-threatening allergies.
Dr. Lawrence will collaborate with AlerGenetica to identify new molecular targets for drug therapy. He will also act as a key advisor providing guidance to assist the company in its efforts to combat allergies due to environmental fungi and, longer term, life-threatening invasive fungal infections. Lawrence will continue to work in his roles as an associate professor at VBI and Virginia Tech's Department of Biological Sciences. He is also a faculty member of the Inflammation and Biobased Materials and Design Processing Groups affiliated with the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Sciences at Virginia Tech.
Dr. Nigel Dunn-Coleman, President and CEO of AlerGenetica S.L., (left) and Dr. Christopher B. Lawrence (right)
Lawrence received his Ph.D. in plant pathology and plant molecular biology from Auburn University, Ala., in 1998. Prior to joining VBI in 2003, Lawrence served as an assistant professor of Molecular Biology and Genomics at Colorado State University, Colo., and as the director of a Plant Disease Resistance Biotechnology Program at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.
Lawrence formed and has led the Alternaria Genome Consortium since 2002 where he has directed the whole-genome sequencing, transcriptome, and annotation efforts of several Alternaria genomes in collaboration with Washington University School of Medicine and Mayo Clinic, Rochester. The Lawrence research group currently uses functional genomic and bioinformatic approaches to study how fungi cause plant diseases, cause or exacerbate allergic airway disorders and inflammation in humans, and can be used for biotechnology and nanotechnology applications. His laboratory is also bioprospecting - searching for microbes in nature that produce natural products with antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Dr. Lawrence has published 35 papers in high impact journals, three book chapters, and has three issued patents and several applications pending. He has been a key investigator on more than $10 million in research grants over the past six years.
About the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute
The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (http://www.vbi.vt.edu) at Virginia Tech is a premier bioinformatics, computational biology, and systems biology research facility that uses transdisciplinary approaches to science combining information technology, biology, and medicine. These approaches are used to interpret and apply vast amounts of biological data generated from basic research to some of today's key challenges in the biomedical, environmental, and agricultural sciences. With more than 240 highly trained multidisciplinary, international personnel, research at the institute involves collaboration in diverse disciplines such as mathematics, computer science, biology, plant pathology, biochemistry, systems biology, statistics, economics, synthetic biology, and medicine. The large amounts of data generated by this approach are analyzed and interpreted to create new knowledge that is disseminated to the world's scientific, governmental, and wider communities.
AlerGenetica is a new health care biotechnology company dedicated to improving the quality of life of patients suffering from allergies to environmental fungi and longer term, for those with life-threatening invasive fungal infections.
Professor Nigel Dunn-Coleman Ph.D.
Co-Founder, Chief Executive, President AlerGenetica SL
Calderon de la Barca 5, #5 27
38005 Santa Cruz
April 09, 2010