2022 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: Undeclared
Mentor: Nathanael Gray (Chemical & Systems Biology)

“Identifying and Developing Covalent E3 Ligase Ligands for the Development of Proteolysis Targeting Chimeras (PROTACs)”

Proteolysis targeting chimeras (PROTACs) are small molecules that allow for selective degradation of target proteins via recruitment of an E3 ubiquitin ligase. While PROTACs have garnered attention due to the potential to downregulate disease-causing proteins, including “undruggable” targets, the lack of available E3 ligase binding ligands is a major bottleneck in designing PROTACs. In order to address this problem, Audrey’s work will focus on identifying and characterizing covalent ligands that target E3 ligases to expand the pool of available E3 ligases for developing PROTACs. She will carry out cellular biology techniques (i.e., immunoblotting, tissue culture) to test the synthesized molecules’ effects to engage the target E3 ligase(s) and induce degradation of target protein(s) in cells. This work is all done with the overarching goal of finding more effective ways to treat diseases.