Gail E Fanucci, Ph.D.

Professor of Chemistry

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

2018 Awardee

Gail Fanucci is a biophysical chemist whose research focuses on using electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR) to characterize macromolecular motions related to function and disease.

“Currently, my lab’s work centers on the hypothesis that drug-pressure selected mutations alter the conformational landscape, favoring open-like states that weakly bind inhibitors,” Fanucci said. “Then activity is regained through the re-stabilization of a flexible semi-open conformation.”

While that work is the basis of NIH R01 funding, Fanucci is also interested in using EPR-based methods to characterize natively unstructured proteins and large dynamic RNAs.

“What excites me most about the EPR spin labeling approach is finding novel targets to apply these methods where we can open the doors to answer questions about how molecular motion and organization is important for natural function or dysfunction (disease),” Fanucci said. “During my time as a doctoral student, I learned that magnetic resonance can be utilized to study how molecules move, and it has kept my interest and challenged me intellectually for over 20 years.”

Fanucci’s work has been cited a total of 1,434 times, with 535 of those citations occurring in the last five years. Despite only being published in 2015, one of her papers on the subject of dynamic nuclear polarization enhancement has been cited almost 30 times.

Throughout her career, Fanucci has held high profile committee assignments, such as co-chair of Science Council at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, member of the Executive Committee for the NSF Network SHARED-EPR, and member of the UF Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy Center.

In the past five years, she has been sought out to organize/lead six sessions, workshops or overall conference meetings that focus on chemistry or magnetic resonance. Her seminal work of pulsed EPR studies in HIV- 1 protease was highlighted in C&EN, the newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society.

Fanucci has consistently maintained a well-funded research program throughout the past 14 years. As a PI, Fanucci has brought the University of Florida close to $3 million. Recently, Fanucci served as sponsor for the F32 NIH individual training grant to a postdoctoral research associate; a feat achieved by only one other chemistry faculty member. She has also been extensively involved in building infrastructure at UF with funding from NIH and NSF for instrumentation and infrastructure proposals that exceed $2 million.