Holak Research Group


The research interests of the group lie in the area of chemical biology. We use small-molecule probes to study biologic processes underlying growth and proliferation of human cancer cells. Specifically, our research has uncovered several small-molecule probes of oncogenic protein-protein interactions (PPIs). An example is provided with the small-molecule inhibitors of the Mdm2/x-p53 interaction. The tumor suppressor p53 protein, "the guardian of the genome," is crucial for protecting the organism against cancer. The Mdm2/x proteins inhibit protective activity of p53.


The techniques used to study the PPIs are: nuclear magnetic resonance and X-ray crystallography, combined with procedures of molecular biology and cell-based screening.