The majority of cellular pathways, especially those involved in signal transduction, are regulated by kinases. Kinases are proteins that can modify other proteins by phosphorylation at one of three amino acids that have a free hydroxyl group. Phorsphorylation results in a functional change of the target protein by changing enzyme activity, cellular location, or association with other proteins. Inappropriate kinase expression and activity is a frequent cause of disease, in particular cancer. Small molecule inhibitors have been introduced into the clinic for treatment of certain cancers. We are currently focused on developing small molecule Mer inhibitors as clinical candidates to treat pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia. We are also interested in other kinases such as IKKepsilon/TBK1 and ROR2.
Synthetic Methodology Development
Heterocyclic compounds are widely used in drug discovery as synthetic pharmacophores. However, some are not readily available and are difficult to prepare in the variety and quantities needed for structure-activity relationship studies. We are currently interested in developing short, effective and robust synthetic routes to prepare heterocycles such as pyrazolopyrimidines and pyrrolopyrimidines.
Education, Certification and Licensure
1997–2002 PhD in Organic Chemistry, University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)
2002–2004 Staff Scientist, Lead Generation and Lead Optimization, Array BioPharma (Boulder, CO)
2004–2006 Research Scientist, Lead Optimization, Array BioPharma (Boulder, CO)
2006–2007 Research Investigator I, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Genomic Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (San Diego, CA)
2008– Research Assistant Professor, Division of Medicinal Chemistry, Eshelman School of Pharmacy
2008–2014 Assistant Director of Medicinal Chemistry, Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery
2014- Director of Medicinal Chemistry, Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery