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U.S. HUPO Honors OU Researcher with New Investigator Award

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January 14, 2020

U.S. HUPO Honors OU Researcher with New Investigator Award

Professor Si Wu

NORMAN, OKLA. University of Oklahoma researcher Si Wu has been selected as a winner of the Robert J. Cotter New Investigator Award, presented by the U.S. Human Proteome Organization.

The award is presented to individuals early in their careers in recognition of significant achievements in proteomics, or the large-scale study of proteins. Wu will receive her award at the organization’s annual conference in March, where she also will present a plenary lecture on her work.

Wu joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the OU College of Arts and Sciences as an assistant professor in 2015. At OU, the Wu laboratory concentrates on the development and implementation of innovative technologies in top-down proteomics, a method that measures whole proteins in human or other biological samples using a mass spectrometer. This type of scientific testing can offer valuable insight into protein structure and cellular function. For example, her advanced top-down techniques led to the discovery of a molecular switch in the food poisoning bacteria salmonella typhimurium under infection-like conditions. This switch, using a process called S-thiolation, appears to be used by the bacteria to respond to changes in the environment during infection, possibly protecting it from harm.

Further noteworthy research includes the development of a new approach for the early detection of lupus, an autoimmune disease that may affect up to 1.5 million Americans. Wu’s research team is conducting this research with collaborators from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and Indiana University.

“We are providing the first snapshot of autoantibody development in lupus patients by developing a novel detection method using a top-down mass spectrometry approach for identifying disease-specific autoantibodies quickly,” Wu said. “This may lead to novel biomarkers and a foundation for new strategies for the early detection of lupus. To our knowledge, we are the first to apply this approach to understand how autoantibodies become pathogenic.”

For more information, email Professor Wu at

About the U.S. Human Proteome Organization

The U.S. Human Proteome Organization, or U.S. HUPO, engages in scientific and educational activities to encourage the use of proteomics technologies and to disseminate knowledge pertaining to the human proteome and that of model organisms. The New Investigator Award was established to honor the memory of Robert J. Cotter, a founding member of U.S. HUPO, for his many contributions to scientific research, and for his legacy as a mentor to young scientists.