Jui-Hua Hsieh, a graduate student in the Division of Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products, has received a $2,000 grant from the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute to fund her project, “Design of Novel Therapeutic Agents against Mer Kinase for Cancer Treatment.”
Elevated expression and activity of the enzyme Mer kinase are associated with various types of cancers, and researchers have found very few small-molecules inhibitors against Mer kinase so far, Hsieh says.
Hsieh’s project will try to identify novel, potent Mer kinase inhibitors. She will use computer programs to virtually screen large libraries of chemical structures and use combined statistical/chemical methods to identify the structures that are most likely to bind to Mer kinase.
“The goal of this project is to use these inhibitors either as leads or chemical probes to investigate the underlying cancer mechanisms,” she says.
Hsieh earned her bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the National Taiwan University in 2003. She entered the PhD program at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy in 2005 and is a student in the lab of division chair Alex Tropsha, PhD. Her research interest focuses on ligand-based and structure-based approaches in drug discovery.