Albert Bowers, Ph.D., a faculty member in the Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry, has been promoted to the rank of associate professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Bowers is a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and an affiliate member of the School’s Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery.
Bowers’ research focuses on harnessing natural product biosynthesis to make next generation therapeutics. Researchers in the Bowers Lab, who go by the Twitter handle @BowersRangers, use insights and chemistries from natural product biosynthesis to facilitate the discovery and development of new natural product-like peptide macrocycles. This work has provided new avenues and technologies for development of peptide macrocycle-based therapeutics as cancer chemotherapies and antibiotics.
He is author of over 40 papers, which have been independently cited more than 1,300 times (h-index of 22). During his independent career, Bowers has published 19 papers, including manuscripts in high impact journals, such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Journal of the American Chemical Society and Nature Chemical Biology.
Bowers has come to be recognized as a leader in the fields of mechanistic enzymology and natural product biosynthesis and has been both a strong researcher and thoughtful mentor to students while at the School, said David Lawrence, Ph.D., Fred Eshelman Distinguished Professor and chair of the division.
“Albert is in the top rank of young researchers in his field and is a smart, deep thinker with a great future,” Lawrence said. “His choice of challenging targets is very impressive, as is his creativity, broad scope and technical mastery. His work ranks at the top of this field.”
Bowers has won numerous awards for his research, including the 2014 Beckman Young Investigator Award as one of the country’s most innovative young scientists. He was one of seven recipients across all disciplines of science to receive this prestigious $750,000 award. December 2017, Bowers was honored with an Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, a $1.9 million grant to study the chemoenzymatic synthesis, mode of action and benchtop evolution of natural product-based macrocycles. He has recently been awarded a second NIH grant to study dual mechanism antibiotics for tuberculosis drug development in conjunction with Miriam Braunstein in the UNC Department of Microbiology.
Bowers joined the School in 2012 as an assistant professor and has taught in both the graduate and professional curricula at the School. Prior to coming to UNC, he served briefly on the faculty at Purdue University and was a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School and Colorado State University. He received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago.