Investigating SARS-CoV-2 Spike interactions with the cellular Ezrin protein as a potential novel therapeutic target for COVID-19

SARS-CoV-2 is a novel, highly infections virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to its rapid spread and high mortality rate, intense research efforts are focused on developing screening tests, antiviral therapies and vaccines. Further research is needed to understand how this virus interacts with host cells to infect them, replicate and release new virus to spread the disease. This project will study the interaction between the viral protein called Spike and a cellular protein called Ezrin.

Development and use of ezrin biosensors for high-throughput screening of novel ezrin inhibitors as anti-metastatic and immune-checkpoint blockade agents

Treatment of metastatic breast cancer is often unsuccessful and lead to 5000 deaths in Canada each year. Therefore, there is an unmet need for new drugs for prevention and/or treatment of metastatic disease. Ezrin is a protein marker commonly over-expressed in metastatic breast cancer. Preclinical studies show that blocking ezrin can significantly reduce metastasis in breast cancer models. In this proposal, the intern will develop novel biosensors to screen large numbers of compounds to find those with the ability to block ezrin’s activity in cancer cells.

Development of a biosensor for high-throughput screening of novel ezrin inhibitors for treatment of metastatic breast cancer.

Treatment of metastatic breast cancer is often unsuccessful and lead to 5000 deaths in Canada each year. Therefore, there is an unmet need for new drugs for prevention and/or treatment of metastatic disease. Ezrin is a protein marker commonly over-expressed in metastatic breast cancer. Preclinical studies show that blocking ezrin can significantly reduce metastasis in breast cancer models. In this proposal, the intern will develop novel biosensors to screen large numbers of compounds with the ability to block ezrin’s activity in cancer cells.