Eamonn F. Healy
Dr. Healy is a professor of chemistry, and the Lucian Professor of Science at St. Edward's. He teaches courses in Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry and Forensic Chemistry. He has an active, externally funded undergraduate research program, producing on average 2-3 peer reviewed publications a year.
Dr. Healy was born in NewCastle West, Co. Limerick Ireland, and received a doctorate in chemistry in 1984 from the University of Texas at Austin where he was a student of Dr. Michael J. S. Dewar. As a member of the Dewar research group he co-authored Austin Model 1, or AM1, a semi-empirical method for the quantum calculation of molecular electronic structure in computational chemistry. He has authored over 40 peer-reviewed publications, and appears in Richard Linklater's 2001 film Waking Life discussing concepts similar to a technological singularity and explaining "telescopic" and technological evolution (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eamonn_Healy ).
My overall teaching philosophy is to convey to my students the sense of excitement and wonder that I feel in dealing with my discipline, and for them to leave with an ability to reason and critically evaluate the information and concepts presented to them.
The general focus of my research involves the use of molecular modeling to design structure-activity probes for the purpose of elucidating enzymatic activity. Recent targets have included HIV-1 integrase, the c-Kit and src-abl proteins associated with tumor development and certain leukemias, and the metalloproteinases associated with the shedding of chemokine CXCL16. For the latter work we have used ligand-protein docking to guide and characterize in vitro assays of CXCL16 shedding. We have also investigated the bacterial and host contributions to latent Mtb infection through the identification of the macrophage cellular responses that are modulated by the Mtb alpha-crystallin (Acr) protein. This work has allowed for an in silico characterization of the mechanism of action of Mtb Acr, that in turn has led us to a novel mechanism of action for all small Heat Shock Proteins (sHSP). More recently we have expanded this analysis to characterize mechanistic details for the heat shock response of Escherichia coli, and we have developed a model to explain the observed suppression of spinocerebellar ataxia by human alphaB-crystallin through the formation of a transient complex. A transient, non-obligate oligomer model has also been developed to explain aspects of the etiology of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS.
Dr. Healy has published extensively on the development and application of quantum mechanical methods, and their use in molecular modeling. Student researchers trained in these techniques are also responsible for peer instruction in our general education science curriculum, leading discovery-based experimental modules in some of the topics outlined above.
Peer-reviewed publications († student author):
Eamonn F Healy, Luis Cervantes†, Barret Nabona†, Jacob Williams†, A unified mechanism for plant polyketide biosynthesis derived from in silico modeling, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 2018, 497, 1123-1128..
E.F. Healy, “Visualizing the molecular wave function in sigma-coordinated complexes”, Computational and Theoretical Chemistry, 2018,1125, 128-132.
Eamonn F. Healy “A prion-like mechanism for the propagated misfolding of SOD1 ”, PLoS ONE 2017, 12 (5), e0177284.
† student author
Telescopic Evolution (from the movie "Waking Life) https://vimeo.com/26319794
Account of presentation at the 251st ACS National Meeting & Exposition in San Diego, Spring, 2016, titled "Between two stools: Pauling, Mulliken, and Michael J. S. Dewar" : http://cen.acs.org/articles/94/i15/Five-chemists-should-won-Nobel.html
Account of paper titled "Visualizing the molecular wave function in s-coordinated complexes" : https://sciencetrends.com/visualizing-the-molecular-wave-function/
Classes Taught Fall/Spring:
Central to my teaching philosophy is the emphasis of learning over teaching. This demands an ongoing commitment to curricular innovation, tostrive to look beyond the traditional classroom lecture or standard laboratory experiment. Active-learning pedagogies that involve students in the development and delivery of their course content are critical. Experiential-learning strategies at St. Edward's culminate in the form of undergraduate research, the most exciting part of the curriculum.