Dr. Marcy Hernick is currently an Assistant Professor in the Biochemistry Department at Virginia Tech. Dr. Hernick received her B.S. in Pharmacy from Albany College of Pharmacy in Albany, NY in 1998. She earned her Ph. D in Medicinal Chemistry from Purdue University, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology in 2002 for her work on the design, synthesis, mechanisms of activation and biological activity of indoloquinone phosphoramidate prodrugs. Dr. Hernick completed her postdoctoral studies at the University of Michigan Chemistry Department, where she studied the enzyme mechanism and molecular recognition properties of the metalloenzyme LpxC deacetylase. Dr. Hernick assumed her current position at Virginia Tech in 2007.
My research is focused on the characterization of enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of inositol-containing compounds. Specifically, the work in my laboratory is centered on two metabolites: inositol and mycothiol. Inositol is small (sugar) molecule present in both eukaryotes and prokaryotes that serves as an important signaling molecule, component of cellular membranes and as an important component of other essential small molecules (e.g. mycothiol). Mycothiol is a specialized inositol-containing molecule that is synthesized by mycobacteria and serves essential functions in these organisms by protecting against oxidative damage and detoxifying drugs and other toxins that enter the bacteria. Due to the important functions that these molecules serve, the enzymes that are used to make them are targets for drug development. Consequently, our long-term goal is to use information we gain about the structure and function of the enzymes that make these small molecules to design inhibitors with the potential to serve as therapeutic agents for the treatment of infectious diseases.