Gregory Harrison, a 5th year PhD student in the Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis program working in the Stallings lab at Washington University School of Medicine, was awarded the 2021 Ceil M. DeGutis Prize. Harrison was a Biology Major at WashU as an undergraduate student and worked in the Kunkel lab.
According to an announcement made by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine:
Gregory Harrison is a 5th year PhD student in the Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis program. His current research in the lab of Dr. Christina Stallings focuses on drug resistance and drug tolerance in the pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis. He grew up just outside of Chicago and moved to St. Louis to attend Washington University in St. Louis for his undergraduate degree in molecular biology. During his undergraduate studies, he joined the lab of Dr. Barbara Kunkel, where he studied mechanisms by which the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae senses and responds to the molecular signals within the plant.
In graduate school, he joined the Stallings Lab, where he shifted gears from studying a plant pathogen to studying the human pathogen M. tuberculosis, which is a leading cause of death worldwide. In the Stallings lab, he has leveraged chemical-genetic approaches to understand M. tuberculosis biology and to contribute to drug discovery efforts, with the ultimate goal of identifying novel therapeutics. The focus of Gregory's research is a 2-pyridone compound that has the remarkable ability to disarm drug resistance in strains of M. tuberculosis that are resistant to the frontline antibiotic isoniazid. He has sought to uncover the mechanism by which this compound re-sensitizes resistant strains to the antibiotic, in the hopes of identifying druggable pathways that can be exploited in future drug development to combat the global antibiotic resistance crisis. As a bench mentor to many undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students in the lab, and as a tutor in the Young Scientist Program’s Summer Focus program, Gregory is passionate about teaching and sharing his excitement for biology with the next generation of younger scientists. He hopes to continue pursuing his passion for science and teaching after completing his PhD during the next steps of his career as a postdoctoral researcher.
The DeGutis award is presented to a senior graduate student, in their fifth or sixth year of graduate study, who has made a significant contribution to the field of Chemical Biology or Medicinal Chemistry disciplines broadly defined. To learn more about the prize and past winners, visit the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics website.