Development of Small Molecule and Nucleic Acid Probes
The Harki laboratory works across the chemistry-biology interface to design and develop novel, biologically active small molecules. The lab is interested in the unique biology of cancer stem cells and how those cells can fuel tumor development and relapse in patients. In one portion of this work, the researchers develop chemical probes to study cancer stem cell biology. Additionally, they are working to discovery new therapeutic small molecules that can target and eliminate cancer stem cells, which they anticipate will yield enhanced therapy outcomes for patients. Another major project in the laboratory is the development of non-natural nucleic acid probes to study dynamic processes of protein-DNA interactions, especially the interactions between the NF-kappaB transcription factor and DNA. The non-natural DNA oligonucleotides, which the researchers prepare synthetically in the laboratory, are born largely out of computational-based design. Finally, the group is developing small molecule inhibitors of APOBEC3-family proteins, and protein-ligand docking are critical computational experiments we perform in this effort. The group uses the Schrodinger modeling suite, available through MSI, extensively in their work.
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