Chemical and Functional Genomics
PI: Kris Gunsalus
Small molecules with biological activity are the basis for most therapeutic drugs and are invaluable tools for mechanistic studies of biological processes, yet their discovery and characterization remain a challenge. In chemical genomics, the Center has developed an advanced robotics platform and workflows for high-throughput screening using simple animal models and powerful high-content cell-based screening assays.
The team is surveying natural products produced by microbes isolated from different habitats in the Abu Dhabi region, a largely untapped resource expected to be rich in bioactive chemicals. Novel candidates with profound effects on fundamental cellular processes or potential broad-spectrum activity against parasitic worms – which cause diseases in humans, livestock, and crops in mostly third world countries – will be characterized using state of the art methods for cytological profiling, chemical genetics, molecular diagnostics, and computational approaches to identify putative mechanisms of action. This work will expand the repertoire of known bioactive compounds and their molecular targets for basic and applied biomedical research.