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Biomedical Research
Cluster

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Biomedical Research is interdisciplinary - we are huge fans of combining the best techniques and approaches across the life sciences towards understanding some of the most pressing issues in molecular medicine today. 

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The ASDRP Approach

The functionality of nearly any biomedical system can be traced down to an intricate and complex system of interacting molecules, operating under chemical and physical principles, that ultimately drives biological phenomena, from the microscale to the macroscale.

 

This is the approach that we take as we seek to develop solutions to relevant issues in modern medicine that have not yet been fully resolved - protein folding disorders, mechanisms of cell signaling, pathogen antibiotic resistance, enzymatic catalysis, just to name a few.

 

Our research collaborations are driven by these pressing questions in molecular and cell biology, and are tackled from both computational and empirical grounds. We see tremendous potential in the parallel usage of tools from biochemistry/structural biology, computational modeling, and organic chemistry in developing new knowledge of the molecular systems that drive human health.

 

We seek aspiring biomedical researchers who are unafraid to tackle intellectually challenging problems with enthusiasm, curiosity, and creativity to push forwards the limits of molecular medicine. 

Research

Research

Amyloid Inhibitors of Aβ-42 Towards Developing Therapeutic Strategies for Alzheimer's Disease

Aggregation of the peptide Aβ-42 has been linked to progression of Alzheimer's disease. We are interested in natural product screening and nature-inspired synthetic compounds that inhibit aggregation of amyloid fibrils. Further, we employ various computational methods to understand the biophysical parameters behind amyloid formation.

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Structure-Activity Relationships in Small Molecule Antibiotic Compound Development

Sulfa antibiotics have been previously shown to be competitive inhibitors of dihydropteroate synthase (DHPS), which is integral in the biosynthetic pathway of folic acid in many prokaryotes. Here, we investigate structure-activity relationships in a synthetic library of novel small molecules in antimicrobial activity.

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Molecular Oncology: Pharmacophores in Tubulin-Binding Antiproliferative Agents

Several natural product  have been shown to attenuate the growth of tumor cells by blocking mechanisms of the mitotic spindle in rapidly dividing cells. Here, we incorporate natural product screening and de novo molecular design to engineer the next generation of potentially antiproliferative agents towards anti-cancer drugs.

Embryonic Stem Cells

Total Synthesis of Etoposide and Anti-Tumor Activity of Etoposide Analogs

Etoposide is a clinically used drug that treats a variety of cancer types by inhibiting the action of topoisomerase during DNA replication. Here, we describe a synthetic route towards etoposide, and the design and development of etoposide analogs as potential anti-cancer pharmaceuticals. 

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Development of a Machine Learning Platform towards Antiviral Therapy Discovery

This project is jointly handled by computer science and biochemistry research students. We are working on a machine learning platform for rapid screening of small molecule non-nucleoside antiretroviral inhibitors of the reverse transcriptase enzyme of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

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Biologics Design, Discovery, and Development towards potential COVID-19 therapies

A collaboration of research advisors are collectively using virtual screening means and molecular biology tools to identify and develop biologics such as siRNA therapies as well as antiretroviral drug repurposing in efforts of accelerating preclinical drug discovery against SARS-CoV2 (novel coronavirus, 2019). Since ASDRP operates at a Biosafety Level 1, no live/actual coronavirus specimens will be handled.

Science Lab

Development of novel inhibitors of TP53 Induced Glycolysis Regulatory Phosphatase (TIGAR)

A collaboration of research advisors (Brah, Tallapaka, Gupta, Njoo) are using computational biophysical models, small molecule screening, and enzyme kinetics to identify small molecule inhibitors of TP53 Induced Glycolysis Regulatory Phosphatase (TIGAR), which has been linked to the replication of cancer cells. There are currently no known inhibitors of TIGAR.

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Synthesis and in vivo screening of novel benzimidazoles as KRas inhibitors

This work in collaboration between the Clark and Brah groups is currently involved in indium-catalyzed oxidative condensations towards novel benzimidazoles as KRAS inhibitors for cancer therapy.

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Advisors & Principal Investigators

The Biomedical Research Cluster is composed of several research faculty members from all three departments (Chemistry, Biology,  and CS/Engineering) who are involved in cross-disciplinary work that has potential application and impact in the biomedical field. 

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Edward Njoo

Dept. of Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics, Organic & Medicinal Chemistry

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Harman Brah

Dept. of Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics & Computational Biochemistry

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Soumya Suresh

Dept. of Biological, Human, & Life Sciences, Genetics & Molecular Biology

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Gayathri Renganathan

Dept. of Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics & Medicinal Biochemistry

Guest Speakers and Seminars

08.02.2020 Biomed Guest Speaker: Edie Zusman, MD

Join us this Sunday at 2-3 PM (or watch the recording) for our final summer Biomed Guest Speaker Seminar hosted by Ankur Gupta, Director of Biomedical Research. Our guest speaker this week is Dr. Edie Zusman, Chief of Neurosurgery at North Point Healthcare.  

Click here for details.

07.26.2020 Biomed Guest Speaker: Sethu Sankaranarayanan, PhD

Join us this Sunday at 2-3 PM  (or watch the recording) for our third summer Biomed Guest Speaker Seminar hosted by Ankur Gupta, Director of Biomedical Research. Our guest speaker this week is Dr. Sethu Sankaranarayan, a neuroscientist at Annexon Biosciences. Dr. Sankaranarayanan will be sharing his academic journey as a scientist as well as some of the recent science that has been developing in molecular neuroscience and neurodegenerative disease targeted research.  

Click here for details.

07.19.2020 Biomed Guest Speaker: Tony Qu

Join us this Sunday at 2-3 PM for our third summer Biomed Guest Speaker Seminar hosted by Ankur Gupta, Director of Biomedical Research. Our guest speaker this week is Tony Qu, PhD candidate at the University of California, San Francisco. Mr. Qu currently performs research at UCSF on craniofacial sciences.  

Click here for details.

07.12.2020 Biomed Guest Speaker: Kristen Valentine

Join us this Sunday at 2-3 PM (or watch the recording) for our second summer Biomed Guest Speaker Seminar hosted by Ankur Gupta, Director of Biomedical Research. Our guest speaker this week is Dr. Kristen Valentine, a research fellow at the La Jolla Institute of Allergy and Immunology. Dr. Valentine obtained her PhD in immunology from the University of California, Merced - and will be sharing some of the latest frontiers in the field.  

Click here for details.

07.05.2020 Biomed Guest Speaker: Jimmy Qian

Join us this Sunday at 2-3 PM (or watch the recording) for our first summer Biomed Guest Speaker Seminar hosted by Ankur Gupta, Director of Biomedical Research. Our first guest speaker is Jimmy Qian, MD candidate and venture capitalist at Stanford Medicine and co-founder of Osmind, and a board member at ASDRP. 

Click here for details.

Former Leadership & Investigators

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Carly Truong

Dept. of Biological, Human, & Life Sciences, Molecular & Cell Biology

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Nardeen Mikhail

Dept. of Biological, Human, & Life Sciences
Genetics, Microbiology

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Kavya Tallapaka

Dept. of Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

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Peter Le

Dept. of Biological, Human, & Life Sciences
Cell Biology, Microbiology

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Scott Clark

Dept. of Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics
Organic Chemistry

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Ankur Gupta

Former Director of Biomedical Research

Dept. of Biological, Human, & Life Sciences Molecular & Cell Biology

Advisors
Guest Speakers
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