Exploitation of thy enemy

Jul 18 2012 Published by under Grad School, Lab

A lot of what my lab focuses on is studying the sensitivity of cells deficient for my gene of interest to different DNA damaging agents in order to find out what potential repair pathways it may participate in.  This gene is over expressed in multiple cancer types and elevated levels of it in the cancer confer poor survival outcomes.  This coupled with the fact that lack of gene sensitizes it to particular damaging agents makes my gene of interest a potentially druggable target.  The drug screening for inhibitors of the gene product is not the main focus of my project.  Rather I try to study the gene and its implications on organisms overall physiology as well as mechanistically what is actually doing in the cell.  The Genomic Repairman protein appears to require a delicate balance in the cells, too little and you have problems, and too much of it causes the cellular train to speed up to fast and run right off the track.

While studying the mechanism is more rewarding to me, I do have a keen interest in finding a drug that might exploit a weakness in cancer cells.  This is a long term project and one that may not even get off the ground before I leave the lab but I feel that it would be personally rewarding to help get this off the ground.

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