Our research program is involved in drug discovery in a number of target areas, either as in-house projects, or as collaborations with other research groups. Representative examples of biological target areas include:

Bacterial Pathogens

We have a number of research projects in this area, some as independent projects, and others as collaborative projects with groups in the Department of Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology at UCSC. These include the development of new screening technologies for antibiotic discovery (BioMAP), the development of biofilm inhibitors against Gram-negative pathogens, the identification of compounds that inhibit virulence mechanisms such as the type III secretion system, and the creation of new image-based tools for antibiotic mode of action profiling. We have a major research interest in this general area, and a large proportion of the research performed in the laboratory is involved in discovering compounds that effect the growth and pathogenicity of bacterial targets.

Cancer

We have a strong interest in developing novel approaches to cancer drug discovery, particularly in the area of early prediction of compound modes of action. Much of this work is performed in collaboration with researchers at the UCSC Chemical Screening Center and includes phenotypic screening, new isolation and dereplication strategies, and the integration of multidimensional datasets for universal compound activity annotation. This research area aims to both discovery novel cytotoxic agents with unique modes of action ofr drug development, and also identify compounds with unique mechanisms of action that can be used to further study the basic biology of cancer onset and progression.

Global Health Targets

In collaboration with researcher at the University of California San Francisco and the University of California San Diego, we are developing new lead compounds against a range of protozoan parasite targets, including malaria, Chagas' disease, leishmaniasis and African sleeping sickness. These projects aim to accomplish new lead discovery, hit-to-lead optimization using synthetic organic chemistry, and target identification using a range of target ID strategies including the creation of functionalized chemical probes. Together, these results are designed to provide detailed information about the functional value of lead compounds for further pre-clinical development, with the longterm objective of developing new therapeutic options for these disease targets.