Brian Kay (Ph.D., Yale University) is a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor and a world expert in the field of molecular recognition, the science of how proteins selectively interact with each other inside cells. His research group of 10 individuals utilizes phage-displayed libraries of combinatorial peptides, antibody fragments, and engineered proteins to probe the surfaces of proteins and identify contact sites for binding. This approach is being currently applied to develop biosensors for protein kinases, create tools to study protein expression in cells and organisms, generate affinity reagents to bacterial and human membrane proteins, and develop diagnostics for monitoring laser-induced eye damage. He has authored 135 scientific reports and reviews, co-edited three books, and been issued 20 patents.This technology was also the basis of a biotechnology company, Novalon Pharmaceuticals, which he co-founded in North Carolina.
For the past eight years, he has served as head as the Department of Biological Sciences at University of Illinois at Chicago, where he also teaches introductory and advanced cell biology courses to undergraduates and advanced molecular biology and principles of molecular recognition to graduate students. Over the past two years, he was appointed the Scientific Director of the Chicago Biomedical Consortium for the UIC campus and elected Vice Chair of the UIC Senate.