Dr. Javier Suarez
received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Graduate Center in 2009, and in 2016 he began work as a research scientist at Janssen Pharmaceutica in a newly organized enzymology group.
Javier began his academic career in his home country of Venezuela, receiving his B.S. in Biology with Honors in 2002 from the Universidad del Zulia in Maracaibo. He then continued his scientific research career in Caracas at the Istituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cientificas in the field of microbiology and molecular biology, studying antibiotic resistance in tuberculosis (TB) infection.
In 2004, he entered the CUNY Biochemistry Ph.D. Program at The Graduate Center, working in Professor Richard Magliozzo’s laboratory at Brooklyn College on the structure and function of catalase-peroxidase from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, an enzyme of key importance in understanding resistance to isoniazid in TB infections. This work involved using specialized tools for kinetics and spectroscopic studies of the enzyme and its substrates, which included electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy and rapid-freeze quench technology.
During the course of this work, Javier contributed to the discovery of the role of a new enzyme radical cofactor uniquely found in catalase-peroxidase enzymes. Javier’s discoveries shifted the direction of inquiry into the function of catalase-peroxidase and advanced our understanding of antibiotic resistance and the biology of M. tuberculosis, the organism causing TB disease. He authored or co-authored 8 papers on this enzyme, 6 published while he was in the doctoral program and he received 11 awards including travel awards to present his work at scientific conferences.
After his work at Brooklyn College, Javier moved to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine to work in Dr. Vern Schramm’s laboratory and expanded his research efforts using isotopes and rapid kinetic techniques in enzymology to probe the role of protein dynamics in the catalytic the mechanism of purine nucleoside phosphorylase.During graduate school and while he was a post-doctoral researcher, Javier was a scholar in NSF and NIH-funded to promote the training, encouragement and assistance to students from groups underrepresented in the biomedical research enterprise and thereby made significant contributions to the education of young scientists in New York City high schools and CUNY colleges in the Bronx (Lehman and Hostos).
Regarding the impact of CUNY on his career development, Javier noted, “The CUNY Biochemistry PhD. program offered a very welcoming environment that facilitated my transition into biochemistry/biophysics research. I am very satisfied with my experience at the Graduate Center and CUNY. It prepared me for a successful scientific career in academic and industrial environments.”
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