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Bringing Science to a New Generation

 

duaxIn recognition of Dr. William L. "Bill" Duax's dedication to education and his outstanding achievements, he was honored on Wednesday, September 16th, at a reception at the Saturn Club that was attended by many colleagues, friends, former students and their parents.

Dr. Duax is the Hauptman-Woodward Institute's H. A. Hauptman Distinguished Scientist.  His career at HWI has spanned more than four decades and has encompassed major contributions in research, education, and Institute leadership.

His research contributions include over thirty years of NIH-funded research on the structure and function of steroid hormones.  During this period, he received a coveted MERIT award from NIH and published over 275 scientific papers.  He served as Head of the Molecular Biophysics Department (1970-1988), as HWI Research Director (1988-1993), and as HWI Executive Vice President for Research (1993-1999).  In addition, he has been the President of both the American Crystallographic Association and the International Union of Crystallography.

In recent years, Dr. Duax has focused his research on the study of evolution using bioinformatic methods.  At the same time, he has developed an innovative and extremely popular program to mentor high-school students in this exciting research topic.  This has earned him the nickname, "Pied Piper of Bioinformatics”.

During the summer, Dr. Duax ran two workshops in bioinformatics, each for 25-30 students.  Each workshop lasted for three weeks and ended in a research day in which the students presented their results to their families and to the HWI staff.  Experience has shown that the Duax program makes learning contagious and helps students to learn teamwork as well as organizational and speaking skills.

This year, while working on the evolution of families of proteins present in all species on earth, the students discovered that less than 2% of the 25 billion possible octapeptides (small organic components of proteins) are actually found in the proteins present in living things.  They are calling these octapeptides the building blocks of life.

The William L. Duax endowed Chair in Crystallography has been established at HWI in his honor with an initial pledge of $300,000 from Mr. Roy J. Carver, Jr., a friend of Dr. Duax from the University of Iowa.  Individuals interested in making a contribution to the Duax Chair should contact Brianne Williams at HWI (bwilliams@hwi.buffalo.edu or 716-898-8609).


 
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