Since 1924, we have been educating and supporting scientists throughout Pennsylvania by striving to promote science, technology, education and the diverse interests of our members. We strive to be a vital and valuable resource for Pennsylvania science professionals, faculty, and students.
The Pennsylvania Academy of Science seeks to:
Scientific Associate VP
Merck Research Laboratories
Neglected Tropical Diseases Discovery Lead
Twists and turns in drug discovery: An antimalarial drug discovery case study that deciphers unique biology and identifies a potent development drug candidate.
Malaria is a devastating disease that directly effects over half a million people each year with the most devastating and debilitating effects on young children. Antimalarial drug discovery by and large is focused on the identification of novel drugs to treat and prevent the disease due to the emergence and spread of Plasmodium strains resistant to existing medicines. In particular, artemisinin resistance which has now spread from SE Asia and is firmly established in Africa (as reported at ASTMH in Seattle Oct 2022).
Merck, a large pharmaceutical company, paired up with an academic collaborator, Professor Alan Cowman and his colleagues to do some malaria parasite drug hunting. The resulting collaboration identified robust targeted aspartyl protease screening hits that required some creative biochemical target identification to nail down the exact mechanism of the molecules. With some expert medicinal chemistry and detailed biological deciphering the team ended up with dual targeting molecules that are functionally active during the liver, blood and mosquito stage of the parasite’s replication cycle.
Plastic provides a real paradox in the world of material science. It is incredibly strong but without the mass that similar strength materials usually possess. In addition, it is very moldable so that you can contort it into a myriad of common place, super-utilitarian items. The versatility and durability of plastic allow it to be used in place of a myriad of natural materials, but these same features make it an environmental bane. Here we will explore this paradox and what it means for the waters we love so much. Much attention has been paid to plastic as an oceans issue, but increasingly we are finding that plastic flows through freshwater systems on its way from land to sea. Come hear from one of the foremost experts in the field of Freshwater Plastic Pollution.
Dr. Sherri A. Mason (aka “Sam”) earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She completed her doctorate in Chemistry at the University of Montana as a NASA Earth System Science scholar. While a Professor of Chemistry at SUNY Fredonia, her research group was among the first to study the prevalence and impact of plastic pollution within freshwater ecosystems.
Sam has been featured within hundreds of mass media articles including the BBC, The Guardian, the New York Times, the Huffington Post, and National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and Studio A1. Her work formed the basis for the Microbeads-Free Water Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in December 2015. Similar legislation has been approved or is being considered at various locations internationally. Among her accolades Dr. Mason has been awarded the EPA Environmental Champion in 2016;Excellence in Environmental Research by the Earth Month Network in 2017, Heinz Award in Public Policy in 2018, Great Lakes Leadership Award from the Great Lakes Protection Fund in 2021
She currently serves as the Director of Sustainability at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College