Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Unexpected Manager Wilson Moves to Syrrx

Premium

For someone who first thought that proteins were simply “pretty,” Keith Wilson has come a long way.

The newly appointed vice president of technology at Syrrx in San Diego, Wilson’s role is to take the company’s high-throughput gene-to-protein structure platform and integrate it with drug discovery.

Before joining Syrrx, 40-year-old Wilson was co-project leader of Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ $800 million collaboration with Novartis to discover, develop, and commercialize small molecule drugs directed at targets in the kinase protein family.

His managerial position sneaked up on him over time. “I’m still very much attached to research,” Wilson says. “There wasn’t a conscious decision to jump from research to management.”

He joined Vertex as one of only two crystallographers in 1992, and as the group grew, so did his responsibilities and management duties. “It turned out that I was halfway decent at managing people and projects, so that became an increasing part of my job,” he says.

Wilson originally saw his niche in physics, and attributes his transfer of loyalties to serendipity. He found an opening when a professor from the University of Oregon gave a presentation on crystallography. “I thought the proteins were really pretty,” Wilson recalls with a laugh. “When Brian [Matthews] told me about Oregon and how beautiful it was, I thought, cool. Everything came together.”

Crystallography led to structure-based design and first-hand knowledge that structural data was valuable in drug research and development. He was soon sold on the value of high-throughput structural biology.

“It’s a real way to use physics,” he says. “And of course there’s the possibility that we could create a drug that could potentially save someone’s life some day.”

— Jasmin Chua

 

The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.