Co-discoverer of convertases, enzymes that cleave proteins to create biologically active chemicals such as hormones
Born in Egypt, Seidah trained in chemistry in both Egypt and the USA before coming to Canada. In 1974, he joined Dr. Michel Chrétien at the Biochemical Neuroendocrinology laboratory of the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal (CRIM). At the time, Dr. Chrétien was pursuing his search for convertases, which are enzymes that split large proteins into the crucial chemicals of life, such as insulin, endorphins and growth factors. The identification of these enzymes has resulted in major research designed to lead to new approaches for treating a host of diseases including cancer, atherosclerosis, hypertension, epilepsy, psoriasis and AIDS. Seidah brought his background in biochemistry to the study, and the two men were the first to identify the chemistry of convertases.
Seidah conducted research at the Department of Medicine at the University of Montreal, becoming a full professor in 1990 and a professor in the department of Biochemistry in 1992. In addition, he has been Director of iochemical Neuroendocrinology research unit at the CRIM since 1983. His present interests include biological diversity and functions of mammalian convertases and the pharmacological and medical application of precursor convertases.
Sources: The Canadian Protein Engineering Network (PENCE); Photo: PENCE.
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