- B.S. Biology, University of South Florida, College of Arts and Sciences, 2000
Ph.D. Biochemistry, University of South Florida, College of Medicine, 2004
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Karmanos Cancer Institute Cancer Prevention Program, 2005
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Moffitt Cancer Center, Drug Discovery Program, 2008
Computational Biochemistry / Drug Discovery / Cancer
Drug design and optimization are challenging processes undertaken in my laboratory: the Virtual Screening and Molecular Modeling Core Facility located at the Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in the Stabile Research Building. This laboratory focuses on protein / small molecule interactions with the purpose of discovering molecular probes and potential candidates for development into new cancer therapeutics. My own research is in the realm of copper homeostasis and the means which to activate the copper contained in cancer cells as a means to invoke cell death within tumors. This approach would represent a novel and important method for selectively killing cancer cells and not normal cells in a patient.
The laboratory use high-performance computing resources in order to extensively model chemical interactions of small compounds and target proteins. This is quite different from a traditional "wet" laboratory but does call upon a very large skill set including: biochemistry, protein biology, and organic chemistry. Additionally, individuals must use intense spatial recognition, visualization, and pattern identification. Modeling experiments calculate free energies of binding and examine in full 3D space all the forces contributing to interactions. Projects also require a detailed understanding of the protein in question and a recognition that biochemical events are dynamic and require some unique thought processes.
Project topics underway in the laboratory include:
- Proteasome targeting for therapeutic inhibition
- Analysis to improve modeling methods / comparison studies
- SHP2 targeting for therapeutic inhibition
- SnoN Targeting (a collaboration with Dr. Meera Nanjundan)
- Copper Selection and Activation in Cancer
- GCSF-R Targeting for molecular probe design