Monday, August 17, 2015

Biochemistry Program Grows with Professor Rizk

The department eagerly welcomes its newest full-time tenure-track member: Assistant Professor Shahir Rizk. In fact, we welcome him back, because Rizk graduated from IU South Bend in 2000 with a B.S. in Biology. Rizk later received his PhD in Biochemistry from Duke University in 2006 for his thesis on rational design of biosensors and multi-sensor arrays.

Once the long, but necessary, period of education and training had ended, Rizk served as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health at the University of Chicago in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology where he worked on engineering antibodies and drug delivery in cancer. In 2012, he joined the faculty at the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame as a Research Assistant Professor and Director of External Programs at the Boler-Parseghian Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases. Rizk’s collaborations at the University of Notre Dame allowed him to apply his work in antibody engineering to study the pathogens that cause malaria and Ebola.

Rizk's research program at IU lies in the area of protein engineering, specifically the design of new antibodies that can recognize different conformations of the same protein. His seminar on this subject during his interview last year impressed both students and faculty. He is also working to develop biosensors for environmental pollutants. If Rizk has some free time, he might continue some of his non-academic interests such as painting and music; he plays both guitar and bass.

Rizk's position is the first [necessary] duplication in the department. For years we have had a single professor for the various sub-disciplines, but our growing biochemistry program demands more than one biochemist. We are very excited for this new addition to our faculty and are confident that Rizk will have an outstanding inaugural year.  Welcome "home" Rizk.