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Chemistry assistant professor receives his first NIH R01 Award

TAMPA, Fla. -- University of South Florida Assistant Professor Ioannis Gelis has received his first National Institutes of Health R01 award for his research on how certain proteins are involved in disease and cancer. His research grant totals $1.4 million during five years. Gelis is part of the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Chemistry.

Gelis’ project titled “Assembly Mechanism of Cochaperone-Kinase Complexes” is a part of the outstanding drug discovery program at the college’s School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics’ biomedical research cluster. This is his first grant he has submitted as an independent investigator.

Gelis will use a biophysical technique called nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) to get dynamic three-dimensional images of proteins. Through this technology, Gelis will be able to gain a better understanding of the correct protein shape. Gelis said proteins that fold to create the wrong shape are supposed to be degraded by the cell, otherwise they accumulate in the cell resulting in many diseases and types of cancer.

With this dynamic view of protein shape using NMR and cellular arrays, Gelis will research how proteins called chaperones assist signaling proteins called kinases, which are involved in cancer. When chaperones become misregulated, oncogenic kinases escape degradation allowing malignant transformation. Understanding this interaction will ultimately allow for new strategies for the rational design of drug candidates that will inhibit this interaction.


Filed under:Chemistry Arts and Sciences Faculty Awards   
Author:Kristen Jefferis