Samantha Brown
Advisor: Martin Burke
Cohort: 2022

There are numerous incurable diseases that are caused by a missing protein, rendering them undruggable with current protein modulators. To address this issue, the Burke laboratory utilizes small molecules with protein-like function, termed as ‘molecular prosthetics’, to restore physiological function. Of these, Hinokitiol has the capacity to mobilize iron in a site and direction specific manner across lipid bilayers. This lipophilic small molecule has been shown to promote iron absorption and hemoglobinization in animals with loss of function mutations in protein iron transporters, thereby restoring physiology compromised by iron dyshomeostasis.  My research interest involves the utilization of Hinokitiol to mitigate and restore physiological iron homeostasis in neurodegenerative disease.