Andrew Blake
Advisor: Martin Burke
Cohort: 2018
Degree: PhD 2022
Current Position: Postdoctoral Associate, Professor Amy Rosenzweig, Northwestern University

Many human diseases are tied to lack of protein function. These diseases present challenging targets for modern therapeutics, as traditional drugs do not impart missing functionality into a system.  Use of a small molecule replacement, or molecular prosthetic, could serve to directly replace missing function, thereby treating the fundamental cause underlying these diseases. Our lab has recently demonstrated the ability of one such small molecule, hinokitiol, to serve as a molecular prosthetic iron transporter via mobilizing iron across cell membranes. My project primarily aims to expand the breadth of transporter deficiencies treated by hinokitiol. I also seek to understand the fundamental biophysical factors governing transmembrane transport by small molecules, with the goal of engineering this functionality into otherwise bioactive molecules.