enzymology

Plant based anticancer drugs - from discovery to final products

Plants are endowed with biological catalysts (enzymes) that make natural drugs used to treat various human illnesses. Among these, the Chinese happy tree (Camptotheca acuminata) produces the anticancer drug camptothecin. Although camptothecin is readily convertible to the more potent drugs topotecan (Hycamtin) and irinotecan (Camptosar), this requires chemical synthesis steps which rely on toxic chemicals and petroleum-based resources.

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Year: 
2020

Developing effective antimicrobials using novel quorum quenching enzymes

Antibiotics revolutionized our medicine against pathogen infection. However, pathogenic bacteria have recently evolved resistance to multiple antibiotics, becoming a global health care risk. We urgently need to develop novel strategies to combat antibiotic resistance and develop evolution-proof antibiotics.

Primary Investigator: 
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Year: 
2018

Phosphoinositide kinases: Molecular determinants for their regulation and role in human disease

Lipids are the primary constituent of all cellular membranes, however, they also can play key roles as signaling molecules that controls how a cell responds to its environment.  Almost every aspect of a cell's decision to live and die is impacted by the role of lipid signals called phosphoinositides. These signals are generated in the correct location and at the appropriate time by proteins in our body called phosphoinositide kinases (PI kinases). Misregulation of PI kinases is a key driver of disease, including cancer and immunodeficiencies.

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Year: 
2018

Development of improved substrates for live cell imaging to aid in discovering new glucocerebrosidase therapeutic agents

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects millions of people worldwide, with no standard treatment currently available. Therefore, there is a major need for new therapeutic agents to treat or prevent the progression of PD. One promising solution involves targeting the protein glucocerebrosidase (GCase) encoded by the gene GBA1. Studies have shown small molecules that increase GCase activity could help prevent the progression of PD.

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Year: 
2017

Molecular mechanisms of complex carbohydrate uptake by human gut microbiota

The complex microbial ecosystem inhabiting the distal human gut, known as the gut microbiota, is inextricably linked to human health, playing central roles in maintaining host immunity, safeguarding the host against pathogens, and extracting energy from the otherwise indigestible complex carbohydrates found in dietary fibre. 

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Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

The maladaptive effects of wood smoke on abdominal aortic aneurysms

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Approximately 80% of all aneurysms that form within the aorta (the major blood vessel that deliveries oxygenated blood to the body) occur in the abdominal region. These are classified as abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). AAA is associated with progressive weakening and, ultimately, rupture of the vessel wall, causing rapid and extreme blood loss and a high rate of mortality. Sadly, aneurysm rupture is often the first sign of the disease and many die before reaching a hospital.

Primary Investigator: 
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Year: 
2017
Health Category: 

Development of novel indolmycin derivatives for the treatment of MRSA

Since the discovery of antibiotics over 80 years ago, bacterial infections have been relatively straightforward to treat. However, the improper use of antibiotics has caused bacteria to develop antibiotic resistance, posing a serious global threat to preventing and treating common bacterial infections.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2015
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