Assistant Professor Elizabeth A. Amin, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and MSI Associate Fellow, and her research team are using molecular modeling techniques as part of their research into ways of counteracting the anthrax toxin lethal factor (LF) enzyme, which is chiefly responsible for anthrax-related cytotoxicity. Weaponized anthrax is a biological warfare and terrorism threat, and LF can remain in the human system for days after the anthrax bacterium has been killed with antibiotics. This residual LF can cause fatal toxemia, and there is currently no clinical therapy against it.
The Amin group is investigating compounds that may be used for future drug designs targeting LF. An article about this work will appear in the upcoming Spring 2009 issue of the MSI Research Bulletin.