Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology



Research Faculty

Hyunwoo Lee, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor

The ultimate goal of my research is to identify bacterial targets for the development of novel antibiotics and anti-infective strategies.  My current research is focused on identification of the molecular (virulence) mechanisms, by which Bacillus anthracis survives and proliferates in host environments such as the bloodstream.  As part of my search for antibacterial targets, I am also interested in developing and applying new genetic tools that will facilitate the identification and validation of drug targets in vitro and in vivo.

3018-MBRB            312-996-3371   Lab website

Shahila Mehboob, Ph.D. (Johnson Group)

Research Assistant Professor

The enzyme glutamate racemase catalyzes the racemization of glutamate. D-glutamate is required in the formation of the peptidoglycan layer. It is clear that the disruption of the peptidoglycan biosyn-thesis is lethal to bacteria and therefore designing compounds that can inhibit this enzyme could lead to the development of new antibiotics. My work focuses on understanding the structure-function relationship of glutamate racemase, more soecifically on what the conformational changes are that take place during catalysis, and how this enzyme is capable of abstracting the alpha-proton. These studies would contribute towards the structure-based drug development process.

3064-MBRB            312-413-9304   Lab website

Bernard D. Santarsiero, Ph.D.

Research Professor

My interests focus on the development and use of x-ray diffraction for structure elucidation, the detailed characterization of molecules at the atomic level, and as a tool to investigate the mechanistic landscape of chemical reactivity.  We have extensively used small molecule x-ray diffraction to assign novel connectivity and bonding properties, variable-temperature and low-temperature experiments to characterize potential energy surfaces, neutron diffraction to investigate hydrogen bonding, polychromatic and time-resolved methodologies to trap transient states in proteins, and crystal engineering to develop new materials.  We routinely use the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Lab to determine the structures of enzyme complexes for structure-based drug design.

3070-MBRB            312-413-0339   Lab website

Nora Vazquez-Laslop, Ph.D. (Mankin Group)

Research Assistant Professor

All of the newly made proteins leave the ribosome through a nascent peptide tunnel.  The nascent polypeptide interacts with the RNA and protein components of the ribosomal tunnel in a functionality meaningful way.  Such interactions affect the synthesis of the protein, the ribosome function and its response to antibiotics.  Molecular mechanisms of these interactions are the primary focus of our research..

3056-MBRB            312-413-4002   Lab website