, | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 1992
Dr. Villafranca holds a distinguished professorship as the Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry at Pennsylvania State University, where he also serves in an administrative capacity as Director of the Center for Biomolecular Structure and Function. He has been recognized as an outstanding teacher. He was awarded the C.I. Noll Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Villafranca has exploited approaches using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to explore the structure and mechanisms of metalloenzymes involved in regulating blood pressure, specifically concentrating on an enzyme involved in epinephrine (adrenalin) metabolism. This work has permitted the development of “mechanism-based” inhibitors for this enzyme- inhibitors which are particularly powerful, highly selective, and of pharmacological interest. Dr. Villafranca’s scholarly excellence has been recognized through his selection as a Guggenheim Fellow. He was also awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Institute of Health with the Institute for Cancer Research and an Established Investigatorship with the American Heart Association. Purdue University recognized him with the Arnold K. Balls Research Award. He has served as Chair of the Biochemistry Study Section of the National Institute of Health and is currently the Associate Editor of the journal Biochemistry. Dr. Villafranca is an advisor on topics related to enzyme mechanisms for the National Research Council and a member of the Executive Committee of the Biological Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society.