The Pomerantz lab is a chemical biology group at the University of Minnesota. Our interdisciplinary research uses a wide range of techniques including organic synthesis, bioanalytical chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology for studying the function of transcription factors involved in disease. Our primary goal is to discover small molecules which we can synthesize in the laboratory to modulate the function of protein-protein interactions involved in transcription, with the ultimate goal of developing new chemical probes for understanding the biology of these proteins.
Our Research: Our overarching goal is to discover new ways to inhibit protein-protein interactions (PPIs) involved in transcription. Our research seeks to understand the molecular level details of transcription factor-protein interactions and epigenetic complexes which control how our genetic information is expressed. At the same time, we use chemistry to design synthetic molecules that disrupt the dysregulated forms of PPI communication to further understand the underlying biology and treat disease. We apply NMR and MRI, to visualize biomolecular interactions, and use small molecules that we synthesize in the laboratory to perturb the protein function. Students and postdocs working in this area are exposed to broad training in organic synthesis, protein biochemistry, fragment-based drug design and additional applied biophysics techniques to validate our 19F NMR approach.
Given that transcription factors represent a major class of potential drug targets and the demand for structural methods to characterize them, our biomolecular 19F NMR approach for transcription factor-PPIs could significantly increase the repertoire of new targets and open up new paths forward for small molecule discovery.
Excited to welcome our new summer researchers!
Left to Right: MSTP rotator Elliot Peterson, and summer researchers Zippy-Joy Mageria and Nayan Banerje
Congratulations to Molly for being accepted onto the Chemical Biology Interface Training Grant! She will be researching the “Development of a Selective Inhibitor for the PHD Domain of BPTF as a Treatment Approach for Neuroblastoma” with co-mentor Dan Harki.
Congrats to Prakriti and Huda for the publication of "Alternative Mechanisms for DNA Engagement by BET Bromodomain-Containing Proteins" to Biochemistry.
This study shows a new mechanism for nucleic acid engagement within the histone binding pocket. You can read more about this work here.
Many congratulations to Dr. Prakriti Kalra for defending her dissertation research this week, “Biophysical and structural studies of small molecule, protein, and nucleic-acid interactions with BET bromodomain-containing proteins.” Prakriti will be departing very soon to begin her job back in India at ImmunitoAI, an antibody engineering company.