Assistant Professor, School of Pharmacy
Current Research Interests: A major goal of our research is to discover and investigate novel cancer therapeutics. We are especially interested in small molecules that can stimulate immune cells to fight cancer. Our research also addresses fundamental scientific questions of cellular interactions and cellular metabolism. Our lab utilizes a variety of approaches related to chemical synthesis, chemical biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, pharmacology, and immunology. We believe that exposing our models to experimental small molecules will lead to an enhanced understanding of cellular functions and discovery of novel drugs and drug targets.
Current Research Projects:
1. Mechanisms of T cell activation and cancer immunotherapy.
T cells play critical roles in human diseases including cancer immunosurveillance. By developing novel compounds that activate or inhibit T cell functions, we aim to gain understanding of their activation mechanisms and how they can function to control development of cancer.
2. Novel therapeutics for leukemia.
We aim to discover and characterize novel small molecules, both through chemical screening and structure-based drug design, that have anti-leukemia activity. Specific projects focus on bisphosphonate inhibitors of prenyl diphosphate synthases, novel tropolones, and natural products.
3. Function of protein geranylgeranylation.
Lipids are often post-translationally incorporated into proteins, where they serve to increase affinity for cell membranes. These proteins are critical for processes including cell adhesion, cell motility, and vesicular trafficking. Our goal is to investigate how lipid modifications of these proteins affect their cellular localization and function.