|Grant ID: RR150038|
Recruitment of First-Time, Tenure-Track Faculty Members
The Scripps Research Institute
February 18, 2015
A chemist at Texas A&M University is developing a new type of therapy for cancer using the unusual binding properties of the mirror images of biological molecules.
Jonathan Sczepanski, who was a postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, was recruited in 2015 to the Department of Chemistry at Texas A&M University with the help of a First-Time Tenure-Track Award from CPRIT.
The novelty of Sczepanski’s mirror-image molecules is that they not only bind their targets very specifically but they are also resistant to the normal biological mechanisms that would degrade them inside cells.
His therapeutic targets are microRNAs, which are short segments of RNA that help turn genes on and off inside cells. Many microRNAs are specific to cancer, which makes them a highly sought target for new therapeutics.