Written by: James Carnel
Chemical biology is a large and relatively new field that has gained more attention over the past 20 years. Chemists have been interested in the application of chemistry to enable the study of biological systems. The discipline includes the use of chemical techniques, analytical methods, and often small molecule probes produced by synthetic chemistry, for the study and manipulation of biological systems. The field has become big and has seen strong growth in a short time. The goal is to better understand and more effectively promote biological research and development. The goal is to find better drugs and treatment options as well as better biomarkers and diagnostic strategies.
One of the great experts and researchers in the field of chemical biology is Dr. Nageswari Yarravarapu. She says understanding drug targets and mechanisms can be healing. His work helps develop cancer therapies, drugs for epilepsy, neuropathic pain, addiction, and mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, etc. His research and teaching roles have given back to society in more ways than one can imagine.
She has played an essential role in the development of anti-cancer drugs by studying the WNT/beta-catenin pathway. This discovery was a key contribution to the field of chemical biology as it demonstrated a viable pathway for the development of novel cancer therapies and paved the way for potential regenerative drugs by modulating the Wnt signaling pathway.
Nageswari is a chemical biologist specializing in chemical probe design and synthesis, molecular and cell biology, and high-throughput screening technologies with a proven track record in scientific discovery and communicating those findings to a wide audience. She has a solid background in medicinal chemistry with more than 6 years of experience in organic synthesis. Her rewarding interactions over the past decade with team members from various scientific disciplines have inspired her to gain a broader understanding of the drug development process, particularly as it relates to cancer therapeutics.
Her first postdoctoral fellowship was in the laboratory of Dr. Lawrence Lum (Cell Biology, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA), where she developed therapeutic agents for cancer management. She has contributed to the development of a new class of small molecules that deactivate the Wnt signaling pathway, specifically Porcupine inhibitors. The Porcupine enzyme is essential for the production of all Wnt molecules, thus representing a major point of intervention for Wnt-related cancers. At the same time, she developed a multi-targeting agent, named IHR-SAHA which is a dual inhibitor of the Hedgehog pathway and histone deacetylase (HDAC) She also worked on the development of a library of liver cancer organoids derived from patients to develop personalized cancer therapies.
It is through her education and background that she is able to work on new discoveries and make the world a better place. She did a doctorate. in Medicinal Chemistry from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA. She holds a Dual Bachelors Degree in Pharmacy with Honors and a Bachelors Degree in Chemical Engineering with Honors from Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, India.
Currently, she is a postdoctoral fellow at the Kohler Laboratory (Department of Biochemistry, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA) where she works at the interface of chemistry and biology contributing to an upcoming field of glycobiology. She is working on the discovery of small molecule inhibitors of O-linked glycosylation of the GalNAc type. She is also busy developing chemoenzymatic methods to map glycan-mediated interactions.
Passionate and fearless chemical biologists and their efforts to bridge the gap between chemistry and biology make contributions of great significance, as is the case of Dr. Nageswari Yarravarapu. His perspective comes from knowledge of the subjects of chemistry and biology. She is truly dedicated to understanding drugs and their targets so that she can help design and develop better drugs. His current work is in a more complex framework of glycobiology to discover drugs for more complicated targets, to begin with, will eventually lead to a cure. She and her colleagues are developing tools to understand these complex biological drug targets, which will lead to the discovery of drugs to treat complex diseases.
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