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Cotruvo named Louis Martarano Career Development Professor of Chemistry

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03 November 2016

Joseph Cotruvo, Jr.
Joseph Cotruvo, Jr.
Joseph Cotruvo, Jr., assistant professor of chemistry, has been named the Louis Martarano Career Development Professor of Chemistry at Penn State University. The Louis Martarano Career Development Professorship is supported by a gift from Louis Martarano, the former director of project finance for Merrill Lynch International and a 1976 graduate of Penn State with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. The professorship was created to provide critical financial support and encouragement for faculty starting their careers in the Eberly College of Science at Penn State. In addition to providing recognition of the recipient's current achievements, the professorship demonstrates belief in the recipient's potential to achieve eminence in his or her field.

In his research, Cotruvo uses chemical biology, biochemistry, and cell biology to investigate nutrient dynamics in living cells, especially the biology of metal ions. He and his laboratory team employ an array of techniques -- including enzymology, protein engineering, microscopy, spectroscopy, and genetics -- to develop new molecular sensors for imaging the inner workings of cells. They use these tools to discover, study, and ultimately manipulate pathways in the cell for human benefit. He is particularly interested in studying bacteria that play key roles in infectious disease and in the environment.

Cotruvo’s previous honors include a Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund Postdoctoral Fellowship from 2013 to 2016 and a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship from 2008 to 2011. His research has been published in Science, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Chemical Biology, the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Biochemistry, and other journals.

Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, Cotruvo was a Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley from 2012 to 2016. He earned a doctoral degree in biological chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012 and a bachelor's degree in chemistry at Princeton University in 2006.

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