St. Jude names Charalampos Kalodimos chair of Department of Structural Biology

Dr. Kalodimos’ appointment will further strengthen basic science programs that serve as the foundation of discovery.

Memphis, Tennessee, August 2, 2017

Charalampos Kalodimos portrait

Charalampos “Babis” Kalodimos, Ph.D., has joined St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as the new chair of the Department of Structural Biology.

Kalodimos takes over the role from Stephen White, D.Phil., who assumed the position of dean of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

In his role as chair of Structural Biology, Kalodimos will continue building a world class department that will provide researchers with the most advanced technologies to tackle important biological systems with the overarching goal to understand health and disease at a molecular level.

Previously a distinguished professor in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics, Kalodimos’ research into the cellular machinery relevant to cancer has led to important insights into how mutated proteins can drive the development and spread of the disease. Already well-acquainted with modern spectroscopy methodologies, he will be responsible for growing the Department of Structural Biology at St. Jude into a worldwide resource for researchers working on different ways to treat pediatric cancer and other catastrophic diseases.

“Dr. Kalodimos is among the best in his field, and we are fortunate to have him join St. Jude as the institution takes steps to further strengthen basic science operations,” said James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude president and chief executive officer. “Under his leadership, the Structural Biology department will increase faculty and staff positions, as well as significantly enhance the technological infrastructure within the department.”

Kalodimos earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Ioannina in Greece, completed his doctorate at the Institut Curie in Paris and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. After completing his fellowship, he served as a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University from 2004—2015.

Kalodimos sees the opportunity to join the faculty of St. Jude as fulfilling and gratifying because of the organization’s primary mission of finding cures for pediatric cancer. 

“I felt very attracted to St. Jude because basic biomedical research is greatly valued by the leadership,” Kalodimos said. “Their vision and commitment to expanding the structural biology program at St. Jude are impressive. As a research team leader, I will have the opportunity to employ state-of-the-art biophysical approaches to understanding complex biomolecular systems, and thus the mechanisms of life.”

Kalodimos will also oversee a major expansion of the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance resource at St. Jude, including one of the most powerful magnets in the world, which will be used to enhance the study of biological samples.

“This will provide unprecedented capabilities and will allow us to answer challenging biological questions that have remained so far unaddressed,” he said.

In addition to being a popular and highly sought-after speaker at international conferences, Kalodimos is also a frequent contributor to journals including Nature, Science and Cell. He has also been awarded multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health and has received multiple national and international awards. He was most recently awarded the 2017 Sackler International Prize in Biophysics. 

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. To learn more, visit stjude.org or follow the hospital on Twitter and Instagram at @stjuderesearch.