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Schiffer Lab awarded a new $2.4M grant by National Institute of General Medical Science

Date Posted: Monday, October 12, 2020


Celia SchifferThe National Institute of General Medical Science awarded a new R01 grant to Professor Celia Schiffer titled “Integration of Evolution to Avoid Resistance in Structure Based Drug Design.” This four-year $2.4M grant will elucidate the multi-dimensional landscape of resistance evolution through integration of experimental and computational data to reveal the key pathways and coupled molecular mechanisms of resistance. Dr. Schiffer will oversee and the lead the research program in this multi-institutional collaboration where the Schiffer lab will engage Dr. Dmitry Korkin (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), and long-time collaborators Dr. Rieko Ishima (U. of Pittsburgh) and Dr. Ronald Swanstrom (U. of North Carolina Chapel Hill Medical School). Two BMP faculty are also involved in the project, Dr. Akbar Ali with his synthetic organic chemist expertise and Dr. Nese Kurt Yilmaz with her structural biology and molecular biophysics expertise who will work with Dr. Schiffer to coordinate and oversee the project. 

Resistance occurs under gradual and persistent drug pressure, and mutations in the drug target are not limited to the active site, but can occur throughout the enzyme to confer high levels of resistance. The molecular mechanism by which this resistance occurs is not clear. The research funded by this new R01 grant will exploit the rich and versatile experimental data, integrating inhibitor potency and crystallographic structures with ensemble dynamics in an internally consistent manner using machine learning to elucidate both the molecular mechanisms of drug resistance and generate predictive models of inhibitor potency.


For more about the Schiffer Lab, please visit www.umassmed.edu/schifferlab