February 04, 2015

Carrie Bebermeyer

Di Cera Named Fellow of the Academy of Science

SLU Scientist is Honored for Blood-clotting Breakthroughs


Enrico Di Cera, M. D., is the Alice A. Doisy professor and chair of the department of biochemistry and molecular biology.  

ST. LOUIS — SLU scientist Enrico Di Cera, M.D., has been named a fellow of the Academy of Science of St. Louis, an organization that works to promote the advancement and understanding of science and technology in the region. Di Cera, who is the Alice A. Doisy professor and chair of the department of biochemistry and molecular biology at SLU, is being honored for his work with the blood-clotting protein thrombin, which shows promise for future treatments for thrombosis and stroke.

Di Cera is being given the Fellows Award, which recognizes a distinguished individual for outstanding achievement in science. The Academy notes that “Dr. Di Cera has distinguished himself as a physician scientist who is biophysicist, biochemist, structural biologist and protein engineer.”

Di Cera has a special connection to the department he leads, the chair he holds and the building that houses his lab, all of which are named after Edward A. Doisy, Ph.D., who received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1943 for his work on the blood clotting vitamin K.

Di Cera has devoted many years to the study of blood-clotting, a life-saving biological process that prevents excessive bleeding after injury, but which also has the potential to cause harm when triggered in the wrong conditions, as with deep vein thrombosis.

Throughout the course of his career, Di Cera’s contributions have made a major impact on the field. His achievements span basic contributions to the theory of ligand binding to defining new anticoagulant strategies with engineered thrombin variants. He has published hundreds of scholarly papers and reviews about the topic.

Read about recently published research from Di Cera in which he crystalizes the key coagulation factor prothrombin – a feat that has eluded scientists for four decades: http://www.slu.edu/x95631.xml

Di Cera says that the best parts of his work as a scientist are the thrill of discovery, the freedom to pursue his own direction and the impact his work has on other people.

To students just beginning to explore a career in science, he says, “Follow your passion and learn from the leaders. The keys to success are hard work and more hard work, and, of course the fortune of training with visionary mentors and being part of a great research team.”

The awardees will be honored at the 2015 Outstanding St. Louis Scientists awards dinner on Thursday, April 9 at the Chase Park Plaza.

Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health care on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new cures and treatments in five key areas: cancer, liver disease, heart/lung disease, aging and brain disease, and infectious diseases.

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