Dr. L. Mario Amzel is professor of biophysics and biophysical chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Amzel serves as the director of the Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry.
His research focuses on structural mechanistic biochemistry and structural thermodynamics. Amzel was the first to uncover the structure of part of an antibody, the molecule that helps the human immune system fight off infection. He was also part of a team of researchers at Johns Hopkins who produced the first high-resolution pictures of how antibodies interact with antigens.
Dr. Amzel’s research focuses on understanding protein structure and function, especially as is relevant to the immune system, infectious disease and cancer. His research team studies the chemistry of reactions carried out by enzymes. By determining the three-dimensional structures of these proteins and the conditions that affect their efficiency, they are able to figure out the roles they play in the body. Some of the information they gather is being used to design drugs targeting the enzymes.
Dr. Amzel earned his Ph.D. from the Universidad de Beunos Aires in Argentina in 1968. He joined Johns Hopkins in 1969 for a postdoctoral fellowship and stayed, earning full professorial status in 1984.
Amzel is an active lecturer at Johns Hopkins where he serves as course director of “Biochemical and Biophysical Principles.” He was awarded the 1994 Teacher of the Year Award and, in 1999, he received the University Alumni Teaching Award. In 2013, Amzel was admitted as a fellow into the American Association for Advancement of Science. He serves on numerous committees at Johns Hopkins and is on the editorial boards of several leading scientific publications.