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Eddy Arnold, Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University, and Resident Faculty Member at the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine (CABM), was recently elected as a Fellow of the American Crystallographic Association (ACA). Professor Arnold, a long-time user of CHESS and MacCHESS facilities, was honored for his research in macromolecular crystallography and drug design targeting infectious disease agents. Also cited were his contributions to the field through scholarly and organizational activities, including serving on advisory boards for macromolecular crystallography and synchrotron radiation. Arnold was among eight ACA Fellows named this year, bringing the total to 35. ACA Fellows serve as scientific ambassadors to the broader scientific community and the general public to advance science education, research, knowledge, interaction, and collaboration.
Professor Eddy Arnold is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2001), and of the American Academy of Microbiology (2006). Since its inception in 1987, Professor Arnold’s laboratory has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and he is the recipient of two consecutive NIH MERIT Awards (1998-2008, 2009-2019), which extend five-year grants to ten years and are awarded to less than 5% of NIH investigators. In 2013 Dr. Arnold received the Hyacinth Award “Honoring outstanding achievements in the struggle against HIV/AIDS,” recognizing work that he and his group have done to understand the structure and function of the AIDS virus reverse transcriptase enzyme, and to develop drugs that can overcome resistance. HIV reverse transcriptase is responsible for copying the viral genetic material in infected cells and is the target of many of the most widely used anti-AIDS drugs.
Professor Arnold has served on the MacCHESS Advisory Committee since 1992, and was Chair from 2006-2009. Much of the work that led to the ACA Fellowship honor relied on using CHESS facilities for structural studies of complex and biologically important viruses and components of viruses. Using crystallography at synchrotron radiation sources, primarily at CHESS, BNLS, and APS, the Arnold group has been able to obtain comprehensive pictures of how a key part of the AIDS virus, the enzyme HIV-1 reverse transcriptase, carries out its functions. Our studies at CHESS enabled the discovery and development of two approved drugs used to treat HIV infection, Edurant/rilpivirine and Intelence/etravirine, that are especially resilient to drug resistance.
Professor Eddy Arnold has been a faculty member at Rutgers University and CABM since 1987. He pursued undergraduate and graduate study in organic chemistry and crystallography at Cornell University with Professor Jon Clardy. Eddy then performed postdoctoral research at Purdue University, where he worked with Professor Michael G. Rossmann (ACA Fellow 2011) to obtain a picture of a human common cold virus in atomic detail, the first animal virus structure. The spectacular common cold virus structure determination was made possible by use of CHESS. Arnold is author of more than 250 publications in prominent peer-reviewed scientific journals. With Professor Rossmann, Arnold co-edited the first International Tables for Crystallography volume devoted to crystallography of biological macromolecules (Volume F, editions published in 1999 and 2012). Eddy Arnold also has served on several national and international advisory committees, including for synchrotron X-ray facilities, and served as Member (1999-2011) of and Chair (2005-2011) of the International Union of Crystallography Commission on Biological Macromolecules.
The year 2014 has been designated by UNESCO as the International Year of Crystallography (IYCr) to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of X-ray diffraction, the phenomenon that enables determination of the structures of molecules ranging in complexity from table salt to entire viruses and other complex biological machines. Professor Arnold was Director of an International School of Crystallography course on structure-based drug design in Erice, Sicily, Italy in June 2014, attended by 160 scientists from around the world. Dr. Arnold also presented a Keynote Lecture at the IUCr Congress in Montreal in August describing his laboratory’s structural studies of HIV reverse transcriptase and how that information has contributed to the discovery and development of two drugs used for treating HIV infection.
Professor Arnold said: “Being named an ACA Fellow is particularly gratifying because of my passion for and long-term involvement in crystallography and the pivotal contributions of this field to fundamental chemical and biological knowledge and ongoing biomedical discovery. Crystallographic studies at synchrotrons such as CHESS continually contribute some of the most exciting experimental science that has translated into so many fundamental discoveries across the chemical, physical, and life sciences.”
Submitted by: Eddy Arnold, Rutgers University