CCAB-sponsored fellowship: Dr. Wei Zhang
Oct. 2015 – Dr. Wei Zhang, previously a CIHR postdoctoral fellow, has now obtained a CCAB-sponsored MITACS Elevate Fellowship under the supervision of Dr. Jason Moffat (University of Toronto) to continue developing variants of ubiquitin capable of modulating biological processes. These variants are modified versions of the natural small protein ubiquitin. Ubiquitin normally binds to proteins as a signal for their destruction or as a way to modulate their function or location in the cell. In the last few years, defective addition or removal of ubiquitin has been linked to many diseases, and thus these processes have gained much interest as therapeutic targets. Using highly sophisticated protein engineering techniques and high throughput technology, Dr. Zhang aims to develop ubiquitin variants that can specifically target each human ubiquitin-binding protein. Together with collaborators, he will then characterize how these variants act as modulators of protein function with the ultimate goal of developing them as therapeutic drugs. Read the fellowship abstract here.
2016 update: This work has led to an exciting study published in Molecular Cell (Zhang et al., “System-wide modulation of HECT E3 ligases with selective ubiquitin variant probes”).
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