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Release: May 9, 2001

UI researcher wins prestigious NSF CAREER Award

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Sonya J. Franklin, assistant professor of chemistry in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts, has been selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to receive a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, effective June 1.

As an award recipient, Franklin will receive $484,900 over the next five years. The CAREER award is the most prestigious NSF honor for junior faculty and is given in recognition of research and teaching excellence, as well as academic leadership potential. The awards, presented to engineers and scientists across the country, are designed to help universities attract and retain outstanding young faculty members.

Franklin's NSF research, focused on the design and development of artificial endonucleases to selectively stop the growth of a given cell type, has chemotherapeutic and antibiotic applications. She is utilizing the structural similarity of two unrelated proteins to design both DNA-binding and metal-binding functions into new peptides. Another project in Franklin's lab involves trying to better understand the structure and function of a zinc-binding protein implicated in Multiple Sclerosis.

Franklin, who came to the UI in 1998, earned her doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley in 1994. She was a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Postdoctoral Fellow at the California Institute of Technology from 1995-98.