Gary D. Brayer received his Honours B.Sc. (1975) and Ph.D. (1979) from the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Alberta. Subsequent post-doctoral studies in the fields of structural biology and enzymology were carried out in the laboratories of Professor Alex McPherson at the University of California (1980-1982) and Professor Louis Delbaere at the University of Saskatchewan (1982-1983). He then joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of British Columbia as an Assistant Professor in 1983. His record of scholarly activities led to his promotion to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure in 1988, and to Full Professorship in 1993. During his 30 years at UBC, he has extensively studied enzyme mechanisms using a structural biology approach coupled with protein crystallographic techniques. The focus of the research effort in his laboratory is on the critical digestive enzyme, human pancreatic alpha-amylase. As part of this process his laboratory has solved the full three-dimensional atomic structure of this enzyme and pursued the study of the complexes of this enzyme with substrates, inhibitors, transition state analogues and even other proteins. These additional types of studies have provided exciting new mechanistic information on the functioning of human amylase and its role in metabolism. Furthermore, this structural information, in combination with other functional studies, is being used as the starting point for the design of novel synthetic inhibitors to act as therapeutic drug agents in the treatment of diabetes and obesity. In he past, in collaboration with Michael Smith and other investigators, he was a part of the National Centers of Excellence Program in Protein Engineering. Currently, his laboratory is supported by funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
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