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Yu Chen, PhD

Assistant Professor, College Of Medicine Molecular Medicine
  • The Chen lab focuses on structure-based drug design against proteins involved in infectious diseases and cancer. We utilize a multi-disciplinary approach, combining biochemistry, structural biology and computational chemistry, to investigate the function and inhibition of enzymes related to bacterial cell wall synthesis, the biological process targeted by antibiotics such as penicillin. We also study human signal transduction proteins in collaboration with other laboratories.
  • Our research goals include:
  • Studying molecular interactions at atomic and ultimately subatomic scale through
  • ultra-high resolution X-ray crystallography;
  • Developing fragment-based molecular docking for drug discovery;
  • Identifying novel inhibitors as potential drug leads and chemical probes for proteins of biomedical importance.
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Ryan Green, M.S.

Graduate Research Assistant, College Of Medicine Molecular Medicine
  • Cancer therapy is often initially successful only to be followed by recurrence of drug resistant disease. I am interested in studying this phenomenon. Work in my lab has revealed an important signaling pathway involved in tumorigenesis: natriuretic peptide receptor A (NPRA). The loss of NPRA signaling reduces angiogenesis and tumor growth and NPRA modulates the homing of somatic stem cells to tumors by altering the expression of C-X-C chemokine receptor 4. We have also developed a 3D fibrous scaffold to use as a cell culture environment. I would like to apply these findings to the study of cancer stem cells. CSCs are a sub population of cancer cells that express stem cell transcription factors associated with-self renewal, are drug resistant and initiate metastasis. My hypothesis is that NPRA signaling modulates CXCR4 expression in cancer cells leading to metastasis and an increase in the CSC population. I will also investigate the effects of 3D culture on the CSC population.

Tapan Bagui, PHD

College Of Medicine Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology
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