Fall 2014 Newsletter | Biology | Marquette University

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Larry Dick, PH.D.

Marquette University, B.Sc. 1980

Dr. Larry DickDr. Larry Dick received his B.Sc. from the Department of Biological Sciences in 1980.  Not quite sure what to do next, but wanting to continue being inspired by the passion for science embodied in Professors Gail Waring and Walter Fredricks, among others, he lingered at Marquette for a few years taking some graduate level courses in biology. 

In 1983, he moved to Texas and entered the Program in Molecular and Cell Biology at The University of Texas at Dallas.  He became interested in protein and nucleic acid structure and began work in the laboratories of Dr. Donald M. Gray and Dr. A. Dean Sherry where he learned CD and NMR spectroscopy, employing those techniques to study the structure of the fd bacteriophage gene 5 single strand DNA binding protein.  Also in that time and place, he met his significant other, Lucia Frenkel and Larry and Lucia have now been married for over 25 years.

 

In 1988, he was awarded his doctorate from UTD and moved to downtown Dallas, taking a postdoctoral position at UT Southwestern Medical School in the laboratory of Dr. Clive A. Slaughter.  At the time, Dr. Slaughter was just beginning collaboration with Dr. George N. DeMartino from the UT Southwestern Physiology Department, to elucidate the structure and function of a newly discovered enzyme complex involved in intracellular protein turnover; what we now refer to as the proteasome.

 

Larry’s postdoctoral project evolved into a career in drug discovery.  In 1993 Larry, Lucia, and their first born Nathaniel, moved to the Boston area where Larry had been offered a job by Dr. Alfred Goldberg of Harvard Medical School to work at his biotech startup called MyoGenics (later the name was changed to ProScript).  There he worked as part of the team that discovered the first-in-class proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (VELCADE®), a drug now widely used to treat the bone cancer, multiple myeloma.  He joined Millennium Pharmaceuticals in 1997 and soon after MyoGenics/ProScript was acquired by LeukoSite was acquired by Millennium Pharmaceuticals, and again Larry was working on drug discovery in the ubiquitin proteasome system.  Larry and Lucia’s second son Justus was born in 2005 and Millennium was acquired by Takeda in 2008.  During his tenure at Millennium/Takeda he has worked as part of teams that discovered the investigational NEDD8 activating enzyme inhibitor, MLN4924 (pevonedastat), the investigational proteasome inhibitor, MLN9708 (ixazomib), and the investigational ubiquitin activating enzyme inhibitor, MLN7243 (no name yet).  He is currently directing research in the Oncology Drug Discovery Unit of Takeda Pharmaceuticals International Company and the team that he leads focuses on initiating and advancing early stage drug discovery projects.

 

Lucia, who teaches biology at Newton South High School and Justus, a 4th grader, are back to school. Nathaniel graduated from Davidson College last spring and will be starting a job in Madison soon, perhaps giving Larry an excuse to return to Wisconsin, visit his alma mater, indulge in some Real Chili, and remember where his career in research was set in motion.  (And if he were writing this in the first person he would certainly want to say: Thank you Gail, thank you Big Wally, and thank you Marquette!)

 

 

 


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