Princeton Weekly Bulletin   March 3, 2008, Vol. 97, No. 18   prev   next   current

photograph of Mona Villa-Sgobbo

Mona Villa-Sgobbo



Name: Mona Villa-Sgobbo.

Position: Executive assistant to the deans of religious life. Handling all financial matters for the Office of the Dean of Religious Life. Overseeing the office’s website and newsletters. Assisting the three deans with projects. Helping student religious groups with their finances.

Quote: “I really enjoy working with young people. Princeton students are very enthusiastic, and I like being able to support them.”

Other interests: Traveling in the United States and abroad with her husband, Robert, and their sons, 22-year-old Robert and 12-year-old Alex. Visiting museums and art shows.


Kitta MacPherson, an award-winning science writer with more than 25 years of experience, has joined the Office of Communications staff as a senior writer.

photograph of Kitta MacPherson

Kitta MacPherson

MacPherson has been a science editor and writer at the Star-Ledger of Newark since 1983. Before that, she was a reporter and manager of the Star-Ledger’s Passaic Bureau in Paterson for two years and a police reporter at the Bergen Record in Hackensack for a year.

At Princeton, she will be responsible primarily for writing science stories for the Princeton Weekly Bulletin, the University website and release to the media. She also will respond to media inquiries when they pertain to the sciences. In addition, she will write and edit other materials produced by the Office of Communications.

A magna cum laude graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University, MacPherson has won a Science-in-Society Award from the National Association of Science Writers, a National Communications Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and several awards from the New Jersey Press Association.

She succeeds Chad Boutin, who has resigned.


Thomas Silhavy, the Warner-Lambert Parke-Davis Professor of Molecular Biology, has received the first Novitski Prize from the Genetics Society of America.

Named for Edward Novitski (1918-2006), a noted geneticist, the prize is awarded in recognition of innovative experimental approaches and extraordinary creativity in solving a significant problem in genetics research.

Silhavy, a Princeton faculty member since 1984, is a bacterial geneticist who has made fundamental contributions to the field of cell biology. His work, using E. coli as a model system, has provided important insights into protein secretion and the mechanisms for sensing extracellular conditions and stimuli. His lab now is researching the cellular machinery that assembles the outer membrane, a barrier against antibiotics and other toxic molecules.

The Genetics Society of America represents nearly 5,000 scientists and educators.

John Groves, the Hugh Stott Taylor Chair of Chemistry, is one of two people selected to receive the 2008 Grand Prix de la Fondation de la Maison de la Chimie. The ceremony will take place Oct. 1 in Paris.

The award is given every other year “honoring an original work in chemistry of benefit to mankind, society or nature.” Groves was cited for his work with cytochrome P450 enzymes and model metalloporphyrin catalysts.

He will share the prize with Jean-Pierre Maffrand, former head of drug discovery at the pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis, who discovered clopidogrel (sold worldwide as Plavix), the anti-platelet aggregation drug. The connection is that Plavix becomes activated in the body by the actions of cytochrome P450 enzymes for which Groves and his group determined the chemical mechanism. The research effort in Groves’ group at Princeton has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and by the National Science Foundation.

A Princeton faculty member since 1985, Groves conducts research at the interface of organic, inorganic and biological chemistry. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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