Board of Governors Appoints World-Renowned Physician, Scientist Director of Rutgers’ Proteomics Research Center

Board of Governors Appoints World-Renowned Physician, Scientist Director of Rutgers’ Proteomics Research Center

First major academic appointment following approval of Rutgers’ integration with UMDNJ

Stephen K. Burley

Stephen K. Burley

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Stephen K.
Burley, an internationally recognized physician and scientist, and an expert in
structural biology, drug discovery, clinical medicine and oncology, will be the
new director of Rutgers University’s Center for Integrative Proteomics Research
– the first major academic appointment that is a direct result of Rutgers’
integration with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

The Rutgers Board of Governors
voted today to appoint Burley to the position, which he will take over in January.
Last month, the Rutgers Board of Governors and Board of Trustees voted
unanimously to support the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring
Act, which transfers most of UMDNJ’s schools, institutes and centers to Rutgers
on July 1.

“Dr. Burley’s background,
experience and stature will provide us with the world-class leadership we need
not only for proteomics research, but also in building translational medicine
and biomedical educational initiatives as part of the new Rutgers,” said
Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi. “In addition, he is passionate about medical
education reform and has a clear understanding of the importance of
public-private partnerships.” 

The Center for Integrative Proteomics
Research, a new 75,000-square-foot Rutgers facility, houses scholars from
multiple disciplines and departments at Rutgers. Scientists study structures,
functions and interactions of proteins to advance medicine by increasing the
ability to concentrate on each patient’s unique biological profile.

Burley has had a long and
impressive scientific career in academia and the private sector and is a
world-class structural biologist whose research has the potential to change the
way disease
is treated. For more than a decade, Burley worked at Rockefeller University, an
internationally renowned biomedical science, chemistry, bioinformatics and
physics research center in New York, where he became a Richard M. and Isabel P.
Furland tenured professor.  Burley was
also among a select group of scientists chosen as a Howard Hughes Medical
Institute investigator because of his potential to make a significant
contribution to science.

“Dr. Burley is a world-class structural biologist who
is transforming the emerging field of precision medicine from art to science by
providing a molecular framework for understanding the interactions that control
gene expression, thereby enabling the discovery of drugs tailored to
selectively modulate biological function,” said Kenneth Breslauer, vice
president of Health Science Partnerships at Rutgers. Breslauer added that the
impending integration of Rutgers and UMDNJ was a key factor in Burley’s
decision to come here.

Burley received his medical
degree from Harvard Medical School in the joint Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and
Technology program and his doctoral degree as a Rhodes Scholar in molecular
biophysics at Oxford University. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
and of the New York Academy of Sciences. He co-founded Prospect Genomics Inc.,
a biotechnology company focused on drug discovery and development in oncology,
which was acquired by San Diego-based SGX Pharmaceuticals Inc. in 2001.

In 2002, Burley became chief
scientific officer at SGX, a position he held until 2008, when the publicly
traded pharmaceutical company was sold to Eli Lilly and Co. Since 2008, Burley has
served as a Distinguished Lilly Research Scholar in the Lilly Research

“I am excited to be joining
Rutgers on the cusp of an unprecedented transition, as it merges with UMDNJ.
The Proteomics Research Center and the Protein Data Bank have important roles
to play in biomedical research and education,” Burley said.

As director of the Center for
Integrative Proteomics Research, Burley will succeed Helen M. Berman, who has served
as interim director of the Proteomics Research Center since it opened last year.
Berman, Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, also directs
the RCSB Protein Data Bank, which is the cornerstone of the Proteomics Research
Center, Breslauer said.

“The Protein Data Bank is the
world’s ‘molecular library’ of the three-dimensional structures of biological
molecules,” Breslauer said. “In addition to her world-renowned work as director
of the Protein Data Bank, Helen Berman has done an outstanding job as interim
director of the Proteomics Research Center.

“Dr. Burley has served as chair
of the Protein Data Bank external advisory board, so he has worked closely with
Dr. Berman over the past decade,” Breslauer added. “We look forward

a successful partnership between these two stellar scientists.”

RCSB is the acronym for Research Collaboratory
for Structural Bioinformatics.

Established in 1766, Rutgers, The
State University of New Jersey, is America’s eighth oldest institution of
higher learning and one of the nation’s premier public research universities.
Serving nearly 60,000 students on campuses in Camden, Newark and New Brunswick,
Rutgers is one of only two New Jersey institutions represented in the
prestigious Association of American Universities.


Media Contact: Greg Trevor
732-932-7084, ext. 623