Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
The Post lab studies molecular events of signal transduction that occur in B cells of the immune system. Signal transduction, or the transfer of information from outside to inside of a cell for controlling many central processes of the cell, involves carefully regulated molecular interactions and communication of multiple interdependent networks. Improper function of these networks can lead to immune disease or cancer.
Facilities of Hockmeyer Hall will enable the Post lab to pursue studies on the Syk tyrosine kinase, a central protein in B cell signal transduction. A state-of-the-art high-field spectrometer planned for the NMR lab will enable the Post lab to define how the 3-dimensional structure of Syk rearranges in response to chemical modification and how this structural change influences the location of Syk in the cell during signal transduction. Syk is tightly tethered to the membrane in the early stage after detection of an external stimulus by the B cell receptor, and the Post lab recently discovered how modification by phosphorylation triggers the release of Syk from the membrane. Release is by a previously unrecognized mechanism and ongoing studies seek to identify the physical origins leading to release. Recent phase II clinical trials establish Syk as a viable molecular target for anticancer drugs. The Post lab hopes to exploit the new knowledge on controlling the cellular localization of Syk in the development of new drug molecules for therapeutics.