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Investigators and Program Directors

Erasmus Schneider

Erasmus Schneider

Research Scientist
Director, Division of Translational Medicine

Ph.D., University of Bern, Switzerland
Postdoctoral training, University of Auckland, Johns Hopkins University Medical School, National Cancer Institute


Research Interests

3-D model of thymidylate synthase homodimer.

3-D model of thymidylate synthase homodimer. A peptide predicted to have dominant negative activity is colored in cyan in the right monomer, the rest of the monomer is shown as a grey string, whereas the left monomer is in green. The two active site side chains are depicted as blue and yellow balls. When the active site side chains of the right monomer are mutated they form an inactive catalytic pocket, thus inhibiting the enzyme's activity.

I have two broad areas of interest, molecular diagnostics and biomarkers of cancer, and how to make cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapy.

More and more, traditional cancer diagnostics is complemented by new molecular markers based on the detailed understanding of the underlying biology of cancer cells. Though scientifically very plausible, translating these new markers into clinically valid assays is a huge challenge. My lab is involved in the characterization of reference materials for some of these new assays. In addition, we are pursuing efforts to identify new prognostic markers, in particular those that may be able to predict whether a patient will suffer from the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy.

Our second active project involves the enzyme thymidylate (TS) synthase. Previous data have shown that it is possible to inhibit this enzyme in a dominant-negative manner with a mutant form of itself. When this mutant form of TS is introduced into cancer cells they become more sensitive to TS-inhibitory drugs. Our goal is to identify a small peptide that has the same effect but that could be more easily introduced into cancer cells and thus be developed for in vivo use.

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