Profile of Phil Dawson
Phil Dawson received a Ph.D. in Macromolecular and Cellular Structure and Chemistry from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in 1996. Today, he is a Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at TSRI. Dawson’s research focus is on the “development and utilization of methods to incorporate unnatural chemical groups into proteins.” There are limited mentions of Dawson in the media. Please note that sources older than two years were utilized to provide a comprehensive profile of Dawson’s career from the beginning to present day. Below, I will provide a profile of Phil Dawson, including his educational and professional background, research focus, media mentions, and other information such as awards received and previous speaking engagements.
EDUCATIONAL AND PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND
Phil Dawson graduated from the Washington University in St. Louis in 1992 with an A.B. in Chemistry and received a Ph.D. in Macromolecular and Cellular Structure and Chemistry from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in 1996. After receiving his Ph.D., he pursued postdoctoral work at the California Institute of Technology until 1997.
Dawson joined TSRI in 1997 as Associate Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Department of Cell and Molecular Biology. He was named Associate Dean of Graduate Studies in 2012. Dawson was promoted to Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in 2017 and is also serving as Professor at the Department of Chemistry.
Phil Dawson’s research focus is on the “development and utilization of methods to incorporate unnatural chemical groups into proteins.” His team had developed a “chemical approach for the production of the large polypeptide chains that comprise protein molecules.”
Dawson had co-written 164 academic articles. Three of his most recent published articles are “Borylated oximes: versatile building blocks for organic synthesis” in September 2017, “Adapting the Glaser Reaction for Bioconjugation: Robust Access to Structurally Simple, Rigid Linkers” in July 2017, and “Base-catalyzed diastereoselective trimerization of trifluoroacetone” in June 2017. Dawson had also contributed a chapter called “Chemical synthesis of proteins and large bioconjugates” for the book “Chemical biology: from small molecules to systems biology and drug design” (published in 2007). He had also written a thesis called “Deciphering the molecular basis of protein function through chemical synthesis” in 1996. Please note that only an abstract for the articles mentioned above is available as the full articles are behind a paywall.
A press search revealed that there are limited mentions of Dawson in the media recently or over the years. An extensive search only provided one article that talked about him. There are only two other articles that contained quotes provided by Dawson. A 2007 article has been provided due to the lack of recent media mentions of Dawson.
On August 27, 2007, American Chemical Society’s Chemical & Engineering News reported that selenium-selenium bond in naturally occurring proteins could “play a role in regulation of redox levels in cells.” The article mentioned that a team led by Dawson reported last year that “a synthetic protein with an engineered diselenide bond can be partially reduced by thioredoxin.” A statement by Dawson was quoted in the article: “Many people had suggested that these linkages were too oxidatively stable to be useful under physiological conditions.”
On March 27, 2017, TSRI announced that Dawson had been promoted from Associate Dean to Dean of the TSRI Graduate Program. He replaced Jamie Williamson, Ph.D., who was named the Vice President of Academic Affairs. With reference to his appointment, Dawson mentioned that he was “both humbled and excited by the opportunity to build on the momentum established under Jamie’s leadership and lead this incredible [TSRI Graduate] program into the future.”
On January 17, 2018, TSRI announced that the Skaggs family had provided a lead gift toward TSRI's $100 million campaign to establish fellowships for every Graduate Program student. The program was renamed the Skaggs Graduate School of Chemical and Biological Sciences in recognition of the donation. A statement by Dawson was quoted in the article: “…our Graduate Program was originally conceived and developed by Scripps faculty…Training the next generation of creative scientists is central to our [TSRI’s] identity.”
Phil Dawson had been honored with several awards over the course of his career. He received the Vincent du Vigneaud Awards in 2010 for “outstanding achievement in peptide research at mid-career.” Dawson was honored with the Max Bergmann Gold Medal in 2011 for “outstanding contributions in peptide chemistry.” He also received the 2014 Leonidas Zervas Award for “outstanding contribution to the chemistry, biochemistry or biology of peptides in the previous five years.”
Dawson had conducted a few speaking engagements over the world. He was one of the speakers at the 10th Australian Peptide Conference held in 2013 in Malaysia. Dawson was also one of the guest speakers at the 2014 Boulder Peptide Symposium. His latest speaking engagement occurred at the Ramanbhai Foundation (RBF) 8th International Symposium held in 2017 in India.
In conclusion, Phil Dawson received a Ph.D. in Macromolecular and Cellular Structure and Chemistry from TSRI in 1996. He was promoted from Associate Dean to Dean of the TSRI Graduate Program in 2017. Dawson had co-written 164 academic articles.