Biochemist Laura Sanchez wins ACS Infectious Diseases Young Investigator Award

Laura Sanchez
Laura Sanchez

Laura Sanchez, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UC Santa Cruz, has been chosen to receive the 2022 ACS Infectious Diseases Young Investigator Award. This annual award is presented to outstanding young investigators in the field of infectious diseases at the fall meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

“Dr. Sanchez was chosen based on her outstanding research program applying cutting-edge mass spectrometry techniques, including imaging mass spectrometry, to study pathogens in vitro and in host tissues,” said ACS Infectious Diseases Editor-in-Chief Courtney C. Aldrich. “Her work to understand how bacteria use small molecules to colonize the host as well as her research program to understand biofilm formation were deemed highly impactful by the review committee.”

Sanchez studies the chemistry by which cells and microbes communicate with one another or with their surroundings to coordinate biological functions in complex backgrounds.

Trained as a natural product chemist, Sanchez said she was “always fascinated by the chemical arsenal that microbes are capable of producing.”

Her lab uses analytical mass spectrometry techniques, such as tandem mass spectrometry and imaging mass spectrometry, to probe and elucidate the molecules involved in communication between cells and microbes in a variety of biological models.

Sanchez earned her B.A. in chemistry at Whitman College and her Ph.D. in chemistry and biochemistry at UC Santa Cruz. She was an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Illinois Chicago before joining the UCSC faculty in 2021.