Prof. Urbach is a native Texan, born and raised in Houston. At the University of Texas at Austin, his fascination for organic chemistry was kindled by Prof. Jonathan L. Sessler, first in class and then in undergraduate research on the chemical synthesis of porphyrins and expanded porphyrins. The experience was made complete by service as president of the American Chemical Society Student Affiliates chapter under the guidance of Prof. David Laude.
Urbach pursued graduate studies in organic chemistry at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) under the direction of Prof. Peter B. Dervan, studying the molecular recognition of DNA with small molecules using a multidisciplinary approach that included organic synthesis, molecular biology, thermodynamic studies, and high-resolution structure determination by NMR spectroscopy.
Urbach was a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. George M. Whitesides and engaged in a wide range of projects, including studies on nanoscale magnetic self-assembly and protein biophysics. He joined the chemistry faculty at Trinity University in 2004. Since then, his research has focused on problems in biomolecular recognition, multivalency, protein engineering, and drug formulation.
*indicates Trinity student or alumni co-author
Zoheb Hirani,* Hailey F. Taylor,* Emily F. Babcock,* Andrew T. Bockus, C. Daniel Varnado, Jr., Christopher W. Bielawski, Adam R. Urbach, “Molecular Recognition of Methionine-Terminated Peptides by Cucurbituril” (Article) Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2018, v. 140, 12263-12269.
"Cucurbituril-Tetramethylrhodamine Conjugate for Direct Sensing and Cellular Imaging" Andrew T. Bockus, Lauren C. Smith,* Amy G. Grice,* Omar A. Ali,* Carolyn C. Young,* William Mobley,* James L. Roberts, Brittany Vinciguerra, Lyle Isaacs, and Adam R. Urbach, Journal of the American Chemical Society 2016, v. 138, 16549-16552.
"Sequence-Specific, Nanomolar Peptide Binding via Cucurbituril-Mediated Folding and Inclusion of Neighboring Side Chains” Lauren C. Smith,* David G. Leach,* Brittney E. Blaylock,* Omar A. Ali,* and Adam R. Urbach, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2015, v. 137, 3663-3669. JACS Spotlight Article; C&EN Science Concentrate.
"Supramolecular Enhancement of Protein Analysis via the Recognition of Phenylalanine with Cucurbituril" Min Hyeon Shin, Jong Wha Lee, William Mobley,* Adam R. Urbach, and Hugh I. Kim, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2015, V. 137, 15322-15329.
"Sequence-Specific Inhibition of a Nonspecific Protease" Leigh A. Logsdon* and Adam R. Urbach, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2013, v. 135, 11414-11416.
"Molecular Recognition of Insulin by a Synthetic Receptor" Jordan M. Chinai*, Alexander B. Taylor, Lisa M. Ryno*, Nicholas D. Hargreaves*, Christopher A. Morris*, P. John Hart, and Adam R. Urbach, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2011, v. 133, 8810-8813. Selected as a Spotlight Article.
"Determining Protease Substrate Selectivity and Inhibition by Label-Free Supramolecular Tandem Assays" Garima Ghale, Vijayakumar Ramalingam, Adam R. Urbach, and Werner M. Nau, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2011, v. 133, 7528-7535.
"Nanomolar Binding of Peptides Containing Noncanonical Amino Acids by a Synthetic Receptor" Leigh A. Logsdon,* Christopher L. Schardon,* Vijayakumar Ramalingam, Sharon K. Kwee,* and Adam R. Urbach, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2011, v. 133, 17087-17092.
Urbach's work has been supported by $2.8M in grants from federal agencies and private foundations including the Welch Foundation, the National Science Foundation (CAREER, RUI, and MRI programs), the National Institutes of Health (R15 program), Research Corporation for Science Advancement (Cottrell Scholar, LEAD, and Cottrell Scholar Collaborative programs), the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, and the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund.