Personal profile

After completing a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Willson joined the University of Houston as an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering in 1988. He became Assistant Professor of Biochemistry in 1993 and by 2003 he was full professor of both Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry. He is on the editorial board of several peer-reviewed journals and continuously mentors and trains undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows. Prof. Willson has been co-founder of three companies based on technology developed in academic institutions, and has 15 patents licensed to industry. He was awarded the prestigious van Lanen Award in 2001 by the American Chemical Society and is currently the president of the International Society for Molecular Recognition. He is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and in 2005 he received the Senior Faculty Research Excellence Award from the College of Engineering at the University of Houston.

Research interests

Richard Willson´s laboratory works on biomolecular recognition, and its applications in separations and molecular diagnostics. Professor Willson is interested in the structural determinants of molecular recognition in complexes of proteins with recognition agents such as monoclonal antibodies and aptamers. The primary techniques used in the laboratory are expression, mutagenesis, fluorescence anisotropy (kinetics), and titration calorimetry. Topics of current interest include the recognition of hen egg lysozyme by a ´homologous series´ of antibodies differing in combining site rigidity and cross-reactivity (with S. Smith-Gill of NIH), and the biophysical chemistry of aptamer/protein recognition (with A. Ellington of UT-Austin).

A second main focus of the lab is the formulation of novel molecular diagnostics and sensors. Professor Willson´s group, in collaboration with UH´s George E. Fox (co-discoverer of the Archaea), is funded by NASA´s National Space Biomedical Research Institute. The project centers on the development of molecular labels and computationally-derived probes for organisms of interest to crew health in long-duration space flight. The Fox lab identifies signature sequences associated with different regions of the phylogenetic tree, and an array of probes is developed that would allow approximate classification of nearly any organism independent of prior identification. Other applications of the technology include terrestrial infectious disease diagnosis and biodefense.

Professor Willson´s group is also collaborating with Dr. Paul Ruchhoeft in the UH Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering to design 1- micron retroreflectors to enable the ultra-sensitive detection of a label bound to a target or reporter molecule to detect an analyte or other binding event. These 1-micron cubic retroreflectors will be used as labels in 1-step assays based on self-assembly. For a complete summary of current research projects in the Willson lab, please see the Willson home page at the University of Houston http://www.chee.uh.edu/faculty/willson/.

Keywords

    Free-text keywords

  • Molecular diagnostics, Molecular labels, Affinity separation, Sensors

External positions

University of Houston

Fingerprint

Muramidase
Concept: Muramidase
Weight: 100%
Domain: Medicine & Life Sciences
Assays
Concept: Assays
Weight: 92%
Domain: Chemical Compounds
Adsorption
Concept: Adsorption
Weight: 86%
Domain: Medicine & Life Sciences
Cytochromes b5
Concept: Cytochromes b5
Weight: 83%
Domain: Medicine & Life Sciences
RNA
Concept: RNA
Weight: 77%
Domain: Medicine & Life Sciences
Nanoparticles
Concept: Nanoparticles
Weight: 72%
Domain: Chemical Compounds
Bacteriophages
Concept: Bacteriophages
Weight: 72%
Domain: Chemical Compounds
Nucleotide Aptamers
Concept: Nucleotide Aptamers
Weight: 71%
Domain: Medicine & Life Sciences
Anions
Concept: Anions
Weight: 70%
Domain: Chemical Compounds
Proteins
Concept: Proteins
Weight: 68%
Domain: Medicine & Life Sciences
Research OutputsResearch Output authored by Richard C. Willson is tagged with the concept

Journals

Journal of Chromatography A

ISSNs: 0021-9673

Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1873-3778

Elsevier

Journal

13

PLoS ONE

Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1932-6203

Public Library of Science

Journal

6

Analytical Biochemistry

ISSNs: 0003-2697

Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1096-0309

Academic Press

Journal

5

Analytical Chemistry

ISSNs: 0003-2700

American Chemical Society

Journal

5

Journal of Molecular Recognition

ISSNs: 0952-3499

Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1099-1352

Wiley

Journal

5
has published Research OutputsResearch Output by Richard C. Willson

Research Network

Visualization: Institutional Network

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Richard C. Willson

Visualization: Co-author Network

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Richard C. Willson

Shared Pub. Internal Organizations

Institute for Academic Medicine

Organizational unit: Institutes

3

Department of Pathology & Genomic Medicine

Organizational unit: Departments

3

Houston Methodist Hospital

Organizational unit: Schools & Hospitals

3

Weill Cornell Medical College

Organizational unit: Schools & Hospitals

3
1
has Research OutputsResearch Output by Richard C. Willson

Shared Pub. External Organizations

University of Houston

External organization: Unknown

130

University of Houston

External organization: Academic

16

Baylor College of Medicine

External organization: Unknown

13

BioTex, Inc.

External organization: Unknown

11

Rice University

External organization: Academic

8
has Research OutputsResearch Output by Richard C. Willson

Shared Pub. Internal co-authors

has co-authored Research OutputsResearch Output with Richard C. Willson

Shared Pub. External co-authors

Katerina D. Kourentzi

External person

48

George E. Fox

External person

42

Ulrich Strych

External person

19

Jason C. Murphy

External person

13

Paul Ruchhoeft

External person

13
has co-authored Research OutputsResearch Output with Richard C. Willson

ID: 2285137