Professor in Chemistry & Biochemistry
Benjamin Clayton Centennial Professor In Biochemistry
Main Office: WEL 5.266
Alternate Office: WEL 5.278
Alt. Phone: 471-3625
The University of Texas at Austin - ICMB
1 University Station A5300
105 E. 24th St.
Austin ,TX 78712-1095
Research SummaryResearch in my laboratory focuses on protein structure, action, engineering and rational drug design. This includes analysis of three-dimensional structure by X-ray crystallography, site-directed mutation of cloned genes, steady state kinetics, and inhibitor screening.
These methods are applied to a number of systems. The plant derived toxin ricin is a potential biowarfare agent; we are using computer-based virtual screening as well as high through put physical screening to identify drug candidates. These screens and X-ray models aid in designing inhibitors as part of "structure-based drug design". Other projects the search for influenza inhibitors, the analysis of of the translin/trax system for mRNA silencing and trafficking, anti-fungal drug design against Met synthase, and analysis of the MobA protein for the interspecies transmission of drug resistance.
The use of virtual screening is a promising area of study. The idea is to use the know X-ray structure of a protein that is a legitimate drug target, and to use modern software to predict how various organic compounds might bind to it. Large libraries, over 50,000 compounds, exist and can be tested "in silico" as drug candidates. This is a popular and promising first step in drug discovery.