Jeffrey Hansen, PhD
Dr. Hansen is a structural biologist, who has focused on studying medically relevant macromolecules. As a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Thomas A. Steitz, Dr. Hansen was one of the team members involved in solving the structure of the ribosome. The ribosome was the largest asymmetric object solved by x-ray crystallography at the time. In addition, Dr. Hansen solved structures of ribosomes bound to various antibiotics. Bacterial ribosomes are targeted by many antibiotics. Therefore, a startup company, Rib-x Pharmaceuticals, became feasible. Currently, Rib-x Pharmaceuticals is using crystal structures of antibiotics bound to ribosomes as a basis for structure based drug design. The goal of Rib-x Pharmaceuticals is to develop antibiotics to treat infections by bacteria that have developed resistance to currently available antibiotics. Last year, Thomas A. Steitz received the Nobel Prize for solving the structure of the ribosome. In teaching, Dr. Hansen incorporates structural concepts into describing the biochemical basis of disease processes, and of pharmaceutical therapies.