February 26, 2016  

Trustees ratify 2 named, distinguished professors; approve doctorates for IUPUI School of Science

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Friday (Feb. 26) confirmed two named and distinguished professors and also voted to recommend approval for new doctor of philosophy degrees at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Science.

Trustees also approved a posthumous degree and a resolution of appreciation for donors.

Trustees approved Danzhou Yang as the Martha and Fred Borch Chair of Cancer Therapeutics and Zhong-Yin Zhang as distinguished professor and the Robert C. and Charlotte P. Anderson Chair in Pharmacology.

Danzhou Yang

Danzhou Yang 
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Yang will start at Purdue in July. She is a professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Arizona, where she also is director of the university's Drug Discovery and Development Graduate Program and the College of Pharmacy Nuclear Magnetic Resonance facility. She previously served as assistant professor and associate professor at the University of Arizona. Before that, she was a research assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Kentucky.

Her research is focused on structural and mechanistic studies of cancer-specific molecular targets and their interactions with small molecule compounds for structure-based rational anticancer drug design. In particular, she is interested in nucleic acid secondary structures and their associated proteins as molecular targets for cancer therapeutics.

Yang has been awarded several National Institutes of Health grants to support her research, including the National Center Institute's Howard Temin Career Development Award. She is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Chemical Society, and has chaired or served on a number of committees in these organizations. She also has served as a reviewer for Nature, Nature Chemistry, Nature Chemical Biology, Journal of the American Chemical Society and Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Science and Technology of China, a doctorate from the University of Illinois (biophysics) and postdoctoral training at the University of Kentucky (pharmaceutical sciences).

The Martha and Fred Borch Chair of Cancer Therapeutics is made possible by a gift from Richard and Anne Borch. Richard Borch retired in 2014 as Purdue's Lilly Distinguished Professor and head of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology. He was a professor at Purdue for 18 years, served as department head from 1996-2014 and also served as director of Purdue's Center for Cancer Research from 1997-2007. The couple made the gift in honor of Richard Borch's mother, who died of cancer at a young age, and his father, who was a friend of past Purdue president Frederick L. Hovde.

Zhong-Yin Zhang

Zhong-Yin Zhang 
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Zhang began his position as head of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology Purdue in January. He also will have a joint appointment in the Department of Chemistry, and serve as director for the new Chemical Genomics Facility in the Center for Drug Discovery and program leader of the medicinal chemistry program in the Center for Cancer Research. Zhang's recruitment was part of the Purdue Moves drug discovery initiative to translate basic research into life-changing treatments.

He previously was the Robert A. Harris Professor and chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Before coming to IU in 2005, he professor of molecular pharmacology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Zhang's areas of research are in chemistry and biology, with an emphasis on the structure and function of protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs), PTP-mediated signaling mechanisms, mechanistic enzymology, and design and synthesis of PTP inhibitors as tool compounds to interrogate PTP function and as novel therapeutics for the treatment of cancer, diabetes and obesity, autoimmune disorders and infectious diseases.

He is a member of the American Chemical Society, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Society of Chinese Bioscientists in America, and the American Diabetes Association. He is a reviewer for several scientific journals including the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Biochemistry, Nature Structural Biology, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and Science.

He received his bachelor's degree from Nankai University in Tianjin, China, and his doctorate from Purdue.

The Purdue College of Science presented Zhang with an Outstanding Alumnus Award in 2006, and in 2009 he was selected as a Danny Thomas Lecturer by the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.

Trustees also voted to recommend approval of Doctor of Philosophy degrees in addiction neuroscience, computer science, mathematical sciences and physics in the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Science. The Indiana Commission for Higher Education must still approve the new degree programs.

These four doctoral programs have been operated for many years under a memorandum of understanding with Purdue's West Lafayette campus, said Mark J.T. Smith, dean of the Purdue Graduate School. Smith said the new proposals, if ratified by the commission, would establish site-approved, independent Ph.D. programs on the IUPUI campus.

Smith said having site-approved status will strengthen the ability of IUPUI’s School of Science to compete nationally for the best faculty and students. In addition, having independent operation of the programs on the Indianapolis campus will make it more efficient for IUPUI to train new researchers who can help stimulate economic development in the Indianapolis area.

Resolutions also were approved by trustees for donors Frank Brown (College of Science), Doug and Maria DeVos (Intercollegiate Athletics), Matthew Folk (Intercollegiate Athletics), Robert and Amy Martin (Intercollegiate Athletics) and anonymous (College of Engineering; College of Engineering; and College of Engineering, College of Health and Human Sciences and Krannert School of Management). All of the donors contributed $1 million or more.

Trustees approved a posthumous non-thesis Master of Arts degree for Arnaud Brice Couturieux, a graduate student in the College of Liberal Arts. 

Writer: Greg McClure, 765-496-9711, gmcclure@purdue.edu 

Sources: Debasish Dutta, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity, dutta@purdue.edu

Craig Svensson, dean of the College of Pharmacy, 765-494-1368, svensson@purdue.edu

Mark J.T. Smith, 765-494-2604, mjts@purdue.edu

Danzhou Yang, 520-626-5969, yangdz@purdue.edu

Zhong-Yin Zhang, 765-494-1403, zhang-zy@purdue.edu 

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