Research Leadership: Luis Marky, Ph.D.

February 09, 2016

Image with caption: Luis Marky, Ph.D.

Luis Marky, Ph.D.

This profile is part of a series to highlight the researchers who will be honored at a ceremony for UNMC's 2015 Scientist Laureate, Research Leadership, Distinguished Scientist and New Investigator Award recipients.

The Research Leadership Award

The Research Leadership Award is intended to honor scientists previously recognized as Distinguished Scientists who have a longstanding research funding history and also serve as research leaders and mentors on campus.

  • Name: Luis Marky, Ph.D.
  • Title: Professor, College of Pharmacy
  • Joined UNMC: 1997
  • Hometown: Piura, Peru (South America)

Research focus:
Molecular biophysics of nucleic acids.

Describe your research briefly in layman's terms.
We would like to control the expression of any gene, especially genes producing proteins that cause diseases. Specifically, we investigate the energetic, mechanism and the role of water for the reaction of a variety of nucleic acid structures with their complementary single strands.

Ceremony to be livestreamed

For information on the awards ceremony honoring this year's research awardees, which will be held Thursday, see the sidebar at right. The ceremony will be livestreamed here between 4 and 5 p.m. Thursday.

How does your research contribute to science and/or health care?
I have published on the energetics of the conformational stability and flexibility of nucleic acid secondary structures and their interaction with ligands (including clinical agents), and the role of water on the stability of biomolecules. I also am very much involved in the mentoring of young scientists from high school students to postdoctoral fellows.

What is the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you, professional or personal?
I was attending medical school when the instructor of an instrumental analysis course, a Fulbright Scholar from Rutgers University, Dr. William Rieman III, advised me to get a strong background in physical chemistry if I wanted to understand everything else. I ended up dropping from medical school and moving to Rutgers to work on my Ph.D. in physical chemistry. Nowadays, a good background in computational analysis and physics really helps in the understanding of cellular processes.

List three things few people know about you.

  • I love to drink red wine with my meals, the likes of Malbec or Tempranillo wines.
  • I keep a research group of no more than five people. However, my Ph.D. students graduated with a good number of published manuscripts. I actually have two students with 17 publications -- one at UNMC and the other one at New York University.
  • Recently, I worked for two years as a program director of the molecular biophysics cluster, Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (BIO/MCB), National Science Foundation.