OHSU

Takahiro Hayashi named Vertex Scholar

Takahiro Hayashi in OHSU lab

March 01, 2010

Portland, Ore. — Ph.D. student Takahiro Hayashi is one of three OHSU students named Vertex Scholars. Hayashi received the Vertex 2010 Student Scholarship based on his academic excellence and commitment to scientific research.

The OHSU-Vertex Educational Partnership Program, established in 2007, offers $35,000 scholarships funded by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Mass. Each award funds a student's stipend and fees for one year.

Hayashi is investigating the metabolism of nitric oxide, an important signaling molecule which plays a key role in the cellular defense against microbial pathogens. Using spectroscopy, he is looking at two enzyme families involved in this process.

Hayashi's fascination with science began as a child in rural Japan where he chased butterflies and collected small insects. He was struck by the analytical power of spectroscopic tools in gaining an understanding of the chemistry of nature as an undergraduate student in biotechnology at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology. Hayashi's mentor is Pierre Moenne-Loccoz, Associate Professor, Division of Environmental and Biomolecular Systems, Department of Science and Engineering.

"The Vertex program is an important unencumbered gift to the university and a huge honor for the students who win the awards. We received an exceptionally large number of applications from outstanding and interesting individuals with much to contribute to science," said Allison Fryer, PhD, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies.

Vertex, with a market capitalization of more than $7.2 billion, is committed to the discovery and development of breakthrough small-molecule drugs for serious diseases. Its current product pipeline is focused on viral diseases, cystic fibrosis, inflammation, autoimmune diseases, epilepsy, cancer, and pain. The company co-discovered the HIV protease inhibitor, Lexiva, with GlaxoSmithKline.