Prof. Urbach was born and raised in Houston and earned his chemistry degree from UT Austin. As an undergrad he became fascinated with organic and supramolecular chemistry, doing research with Profs. Jonathan Sessler and Thomas Kodadek, and he was president of the ACS Student Affiliates chapter, working with Prof. David Laude. As a graduate student at Caltech, he worked under Prof. Peter Dervan on the design of small molecules that bind sequence-selectively to DNA.
As an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, he worked under Prof. George Whitesides on the synthesis and self-assembly of nanoscale magnetic materials, the effects of charge and metal on protein folding, and other interesting topics. Prof. Urbach joined the Trinity faculty in 2004 and has built a research program in bioorganic and supramolecular chemistry. The Urbach research group has established methods for binding peptides and proteins predictively on the basis of the amino acid sequence, and they are pursuing applications in the areas of biosensing, separations, 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.