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Clay Clark


[Clark, Clay]
  • Chair, Department of Biology
  • Professor and Chair, Department of Biology


Dr. Clark received a BS in Biology from the University of Georgia, an MS in Biology from the University of San Francisco, and a PhD in Biochemistry from Texas A&M University. As a graduate student at USF, he constructed one of the first genomic libraries of the cyanobacteria Fremyella diplosiphon in order to examine chromatic adaptation and phycobiliprotein synthesis. At Texas A&M University, he studied biochemical and biophysical analyses of protein folding and assembly of bacterial luciferase. Following graduate training, he was a Keck Foundation fellow and postdoctoral associate at Washington University School of Medicine, where he examined thermodynamic and kinetic mechanisms of folding for a variety of proteins and their interactions with the chaperone GroEL. The complex kinetic interactions between partially folded or misfolded protein structures and molecular chaperones are important in a number of human diseases, particularly cystic fibrosis and Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Clark moved to NC State University in 1999 and was appointed Assistant Professor of Biochemistry. At NC State University, his research focused on the activation and allosteric regulation of caspases, a family of proteases that are important in cell differentiation and cell death. Caspases are critical enzymes in a variety of processes, from development of eye lens, inner ear development, to neuron maturation. The dysregulation of caspase function is problematic in a variety of diseases, from cancer to Alzheimer’s and arthritis. Dr. Clark’s projects focus on conformational selection of proteins by small molecules or peptides as a means to develop novel caspase inhibitors to study adaptive responses of cell signaling and apoptosis. Dr. Clark utilizes numerous biophysical techniques, X-ray crystallography, molecular modeling and dynamics, protein engineering and in cellulo functional assays to characterize how various states in the native ensemble are selected by the allosteric molecules. The projects have been funded by the American Diabetes Association, the American Foundation for Aging Research, and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Clark moved to UT Arlington in 2015 and is currently Professor and Chair of Biology.

Professional Preparation

    • 1984 BS in BiologyUniversity of Georgia
    • 1989 MS in BiologyUniversity of San Francisco
    • 1994 PhD in BiochemistryTexas A&M University System (TAMU)  Texas A&M University
    • 1999 Post-Doctoral in Biochemistry and Molecular BiophysicsWashington University in St. Louis


    • July 2015 to Present Professor and Chair of Biology
      University of Texas at Arlington   Office of the President   Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs   College of Science   Department of Biology
    • July 2012 to July 2015 Head of Biochemistry
      North Carolina State University
    • Aug 2010 to July 2015 Professor of Biochemistry
      North Carolina State University
    • Aug 2005 to July 2010 Associate Professor of Biochemistry
      North Carolina State University
    • Jan 1999 to July 2005 Assistant Professor of Biochemistry
      North Carolina State University