Membrane proteins such as ion channels, transporters or G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are excellent but difficult drug targets involved in a large number of life-threatening diseases and conditions. These proteins, over-expressed and essential for disease onset and progression, are naturally targeted by toxins from venomous organisms. During evolution, these toxins have been optimized to efficiently target physiologically-relevant proteins involved in ion channel opening or closure, thus incapacitating the prey or defending against predators.
Air pollution is a major concern in urban centers because not only does affect vulnerable populations, but also impacts the quality of life for urban dwellers. With the new implementation of the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to replace the existing Ontario Air Quality Index (AQI), there is an emerging need to forecast future environmental impacts on air quality and assess the achievability of the newly-adopted index.
Hypoxic cells comprise most aggressive and therapy resistant population in the tumors therefore targeting proteins that are essential for hypoxia survival is an effective novel anti-cancer treatment. We have an ability to generate highly specific humanized synthetic antibodies against target of choice. We will generate antibodies against proteins that promote hypoxia survival, test their effect in 2D/3D systems and will move to preclinical/clinical trials upon successful in vitro validation.
Signaling through the Eph family of cell surface receptors is crucial for embryonic development and the maintenance of adult tissues. Given the central role of the 14 Eph receptors in controlling cell fate, it is not surprising that they also play a central role in oncogenesis and other pathological conditions. However, the signaling mechanisms of Eph receptors are extremely complex, and developing an effective therapeutic intervention for a particular disease requires a comprehensive understanding of Eph function.
Proteins can exist in two forms: left-handed (L) or right-handed (D); however, for indeterminate reasons life on this planet only uses the L-form. When studied in more detail, both protein forms possess identical physiochemical and biological properties. Yet, D-proteins show minimal proteolytic degradation and fail to elicit immune responses in animals, due to their unnatural arrangement for recognition in biological systems. Accordingly, the proposed project seeks to develop synthetic D-proteins as biopharmaceutical molecules.