A hand holds a test tube with formulas and DNA in the background

Research

Our lab research resides in the broad field of chemical biology. This field includes various areas of research such as organic/combinatorial chemistry, medicinal chemistry, structural biology, biochemistry, cell biology, microbiology, and molecular biology. Our research is done within the walls of our lab where biological and chemical infrastructures coexist. Our chemical biology lab is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment that contributes to the development of novel chemical approaches to drug disease-related RNA complexes.

Development of chemistry platform for the discovery of novel RNA-ligands using combinatorial and organic chemistry. Combinatorial chemistry involves the generation of a large array of structurally diverse compounds, called a chemical library, through systematic, repetitive, and covalent linkage of various “building blocks”. Combinatorial chemistry is a highly efficient method for both drug lead discovery and optimization in medicinal chemistry.

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Developing strategies for targeting oncogenic non-coding RNAs. Noncoding DNA has been reported to cover 95% of DNA sequences in the human genome, most of which are transcribed into tens of thousands of functional noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs), including microRNAs (miRNAs), small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), antisense RNAs (asRNAs), and long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs)… Accumulating evidence shows that ncRNAs are dysregulated and implicated in various cancer processes, such as cancer stem cell initiation, metastasis, and drug resistance, highlighting the role of ncRNAs as potential therapeutic targets in cancer. Therapeutic targeting of ncRNAs represents an attractive approach for the treatment of cancers, as well as many other diseases.

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Developing approaches for targeted degradation of RNA-protein complexes associated with diseases. The RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) participate in the formation of ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes by recognizing and dynamically binding to both coding and noncoding selective RNA targets, thus profoundly influencing gene expression. Interestingly, RBP-focused pharmacological studies have highlighted the existence of a significant posttranscriptional impact mediated by small molecules exerting antitumor properties. Notably, RNPs represent a new, largely unexplored, druggable space. The challenge of targeting RBPs and RNPs relies on the application of new strategies to identify and interfere with dynamic protein–RNA surfaces.

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