Research in my laboratory is centered on using three dimensional structure of proteins targets to design small molecules that modulate their function. These small molecules serve as chemical probes to study these targets in their native environment either in cell culture or in vivo, and in some cases provide leads for the development of therapeutic agents in cancer and neurological disorders. Our work currently focuses on the following classes of targets: urokinase-type plasminogen activator system, serine/threonine kinases, aldehyde dehydrogenases, and voltage-gated calcium channels. Compounds are identified through structure-based design that involves molecular docking and scoring. While we rely on existing docking methods, we develop new approaches to accurately score complexes and rank compounds. Structure-activity relationship studies that we carry out provides valuable data to guide the design of next generation compounds and to improve our structure-based drug design methods. Initially, compounds are acquired from commercial sources and tested for activity in biochemical and cell culture-based assays that we develop. Promising molecules as well as their derivatives are synthesized and further evaluated for activity. Some compounds are eventually assessed for efficacy in animal studies through collaborations.
Post-doctoral Fellowship - University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana 2003-2006
Post-doctoral Fellowship - Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan 2001-2003
Ph.D. - Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan 2001