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A Texas Fellow

Biochemistry researcher honoured by American university


By Kelly Foss

Dr. John (Sean) Brosnan has been inducted as a Fellow of the Texas Institute for Advanced Studies (TIAS).

Established by Texas A&M University in 2010, the institute selects faculty Fellows from among top scholars who have distinguished themselves through outstanding professional accomplishments or significant recognition. Only 35 individuals have been inducted to date, including several Nobel laureates.

Outstanding research

The minimum qualification for consideration is election to one’s home national academy, the Royal Society of Canada in the case of Dr. Brosnan, and an outstanding research program that permits interactions with researchers and students on-campus at Texas A&M University. Fellows are recruited for visiting appointments that will last from three to 12 months, though those 12 months may be spread over multiple years.

Drs. Sean and Margaret Brosnan with honour guard
As part of the ceremonial gala, Dr. Brosnan, accompanied by Dr. Margaret Brosnan, entered the ballroom through an honorary sabre arch formed by cadets of the Ross Volunteer Company. The Ross Volunteers are the official honour guard for the Governor of Texas.
Photo: Submitted

In the field of amino acid biochemistry, Dr. Brosnan is known for his groundbreaking research into kidney and inter-organ metabolism of amino acids and one-carbon units.

Significant contributions

His most significant contributions concern understanding how several amino acids can be converted to glucose, a key element in our ability to withstand prolonged starvation; the regulation of amino acid metabolism by hormones; and how glutamine is used to regulate our acid-base status. Dr. Brosnan’s most recent work examines how vitamins—folate, in particular—can facilitate one-carbon metabolism. He is also exploring the key role that formic acid plays in that process.

As a TIAS faculty Fellow, Dr. Brosnan will collaborate with faculty-researchers and graduate students from the departments of animal science, poultry science, and nutrition and food sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences from the Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and from the Texas A&M Health Science Center.

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