Research topic: The development of androgen receptor inhibitors with the use of computer aided drug design tools
Project description: Androgen receptor is the main driver of prostate cancer (PCa) (the most common malignancy in men), as it activates the transcription of a variety of oncogenes and stimulates cancer cell growth. The inhibition of AR with small molecules that compete with natural androgens is one of the primary strategies in PC therapy along with androgen synthesis ablation through castration. However, PC often relapses as a more aggressive castration-resistance PC (CRPC) after it gains various mutations that confer resistance to common antiandrogen treatments. Therefore, the development of new therapeutics that target AR signaling through novel mechanisms is crucial to alleviate the issue of resistance and associated PC mortality. We aim to develop novel AR inhibitors that target DNA-binding domain, thus, directly blocking its transcriptional activity. To this end, we employ structure-based virtual screening of ultra large libraries. We propose that the use of ultra large libraries allow discovering novel chemical scaffolds. To perform such screenings, we employ our in-house developed AI-facilitated docking tool, DeepDocking.
Personal introduction: Early-stage researcher of the Advanced machine learning for Innovative Drug Discovery (AIDD) consortium, focussing on the development of androgen receptor inhibitors with the use of computer aided drug design tools.
My background is in biology and genetics. During my undergrads, I focused on the evolution of bacterial genomes. This project led me to discover how computational analysis meets biology. I gained programming skills and was fascinated to pursue a career in bioinformatics. Then, I stated a masters degree in Bioinformatics from the University of British Columbia where I focused on the development of small molecule inhibitors of protein – nucleic acids interactions. During my masters, I learned the basics of computational drug discovery. I decided to pursue a PhD in the same field after realizing how promising and fast moving it is. Currently, I work on the development of androgen receptor inhibitors aimed to combat prostate cancer.
AstraZeneca AB, Sweden July-August 2023