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Research Abstracts Online
January - December 2011

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Pharmacy
Department of Medicinal Chemistry

PI: Elizabeth A. Amin, Associate Fellow

Targeting Biological Warfare Agents: Understanding Mechanisms and Advancing Countermeasures

The Amin lab focuses on design of therapeutics that target agents used in biological and chemical warfare. They are pursuing three related major research areas: investigating the mechanisms of action of the anthrax toxin lethal factor (LF) and developing small-molecule inhibitors to counteract its effects; developing enzyme-based environmental cleanup agents to detoxify organophosphate nerve agents including sarin, soman, and VX; and developing new computational schemes for modeling energy surfaces in large metal-bearing molecules such as LF and the phosphotriesterases that are relevant to the defense against terrorism. The researchers use MSI resources in lead optimization and virtual screening of new drug scaffolds targeting the anthrax toxin; for in silico site-directed mutagenesis studies on potential nerve agent neutralizers; and to optimize a new electrostatic embedding method (in collaboration with group of Professor Donald Truhlar, Chemistry) to accurately model metal centers in the zinc macromolecules they are investigating.

Group Members

Ting-Lan Chiu, Research Associate
Elbek K. Kurbanov, Graduate Student
Xia Zhang, Graduate Student