M.D./Ph.D. candidate Keith Romano in the Schiffer Lab was awarded the Journal of Biological Chemistry/Herbert Tabor Young Investigator Award at the 25th annual symposium of the Protein Society. The award honors Herb Tabor's invaluable contributions to the journal and to science as a whole. At the same time, the awards recognize the innovators and achievers in new generations of researchers who exemplify his values of creativity and scientific excellence.
Keith Romano was named the award series' second winner for his promising work with hepatitis C virus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Romano's research aims to overcome HCV protease inhibitor resistance. He has determined high-resolution crystal structures of the NS3/4A protease in complex with viral substrates and drugs synthesized by his team's medicinal chemist, Dr. Akbar Ali. This work has led to better understanding the molecular basis of drug resistance against four leading HCV protease inhibitors—telaprevir, danoprevir, vaniprevir and MK-5172.
"I hope that these findings facilitate the more rational evaluation of novel drug candidates,” Romano says, “and provide a direct path for designing more efficacious and tolerable anti-HCV therapies."