The University Record, October 1, 2001

Carol A. Fierke—Faculty Recognition Award

Fierke (Photo by Marcia Ledford, U-M Photo Services)
Carol A. Fierke, an international authority on enzyme structure-mechanism relationships and leader in the biochemical community, has applied basic principles of enzyme action to a wide-range of problems. She also has been a driving force in a number of interdisciplinary initiatives at the University of Michigan, particularly in the life sciences.

Professor Fierke’s research on carbonic anhydrase has provided an in-depth explanation of the specificity between an enzyme and its metal co-factor. She also has applied her knowledge of metalloenzymes to enhance understanding of catalytic zinc sites and scientists’ ability to design inhibitors useful for the treatment of glaucoma, cancer and bacterial infections. Additionally, by demonstrating the functional importance of the protein in a protein/RNA complex, Professor Fierke has changed the way people think about the chemistry of catalytic RNA in biological systems.

Professor Fierke, a faculty associate in the Biophysics Research Division, joined the faculty in 1999. She has enhanced cooperation between the Department of Chemistry in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and the Department of Biological Chemistry in the Medical School by creating and teaching interdisciplinary courses and serving on committees in both departments. She also co-chairs the LS&A and Medical School Joint Life Sciences Faculty Search Committee.

As a member of the Life Sciences Initiative Advisory Committee, Professor Fierke helped identify the Life Sciences Institute directors and is working closely with architects on the Institute building. She has agreed to co-direct the proposed Chemical Biology Graduate Program, which will link graduate research efforts in LS&A, the Medical School and the College of Pharmacy into a unified Ph.D. program.

Professor Fierke serves on the editorial boards of several distinguished journals. She also is a member of the organizing committee of the Winter Enzyme Mechanisms Conference, the nominating committee of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the National Institutes of Health Study Section on Physical Biochemistry. She has received the American Heart Association Established Investigator Award, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowship, and the American Cancer Society Junior Faculty Research Award.

For her elegant and path-breaking experiments, her teaching, and her leadership in intercampus educational initiatives and in the international biochemical community, the University of Michigan proudly presents to Carol A. Fierke its Faculty Recognition Award.