Timothy J. Deming, professor of bioengineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, has been named the Fulbright-Tocqueville Distinguished Chair for 2015-16. He will conduct collaborative research in protein polymer chemistry at University of Bordeaux in France for the next six months.

The Fulbright-Tocqueville Distinguished Chair award was created in 2005 in commemoration of the bicentennial celebration of Alexis de Tocqueville’s birthday and the centennial celebration of U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright’s birthday. The award, the most prestigious offered by the Franco-American Fulbright Commission, aims to reinforce collaborative research between France and the United States in France.

Deming, who also holds a UCLA faculty appointment in chemistry and biochemistry, will be hosted at the university by professors Henri Cramail, director, and Sébastien Lecommandoux, deputy director, of the Laboratoire de Chimie des Polymères Organiques.

Deming’s research seeks to develop practical, chemoselective methods for introduction of functional groups onto protein polymers. His project combines expertise in protein biosynthesis and characterization at the lab in Bordeaux with the expertise in chemistry for selective polypeptide modification from his lab at UCLA. By working together, the group could make significant advances in the practical synthesis of functional biopolymers, which will have realistic potential to impact many challenges in medicine and medical diagnostics.

In addition to his research project, Deming will teach courses and lead several public conferences.

Deming is a leader in the fields of polypeptide synthesis, self-assembly of block copolypeptides, and biological activity of polypeptides. He has received awards from the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry Macromolecular Division, among others. He was recently named a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. 

The distinguished chair is financed in part by the French Ministry of Education, Higher Education, and Research and by the Franco-American Fulbright Commission.