NIH Director’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series
Dr. Nicolelis has dedicated his career to investigating how the brains of freely behaving animals encode sensory and motor information. As a result of his studies, Dr. Nicolelis was first to propose and demonstrate that animals and human subjects can utilize their electrical brain activity to directly control neuroprosthetic devices via brain-machine interfaces (BMI).
Biosensors are key components in engineered biological systems that interface with the large biochemical space in living cells and their environment. Aptamers, functional nucleic acid molecules that bind ligands, provide a powerful sensing element for many classes of molecules of interest. Although procedures such as SELEX have been quite successful in generating individual aptamers that bind proteins, generating small molecule aptamers has been more challenging due to the need to chemically modify the ligand to permit the recovery of binding sequences.
Proteolysis Targeting Chimera (PROTACs) are the first of a new class of clinical drug candidates that work via a novel therapeutic paradigm, i.e., targeted protein degradation. These two-headed compounds recruit a target protein to be eliminated to an E3 ubiquitin ligase, leading to the tagging of the target protein for degradation by the cell’s own quality control system, the ubiquitin/proteasome system. PROTACs offer the ability to deliver on the therapeutic promise of siRNA (i.e., ability to target the undruggable proteome) but by using small molecules with more traditional drug-like pro
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