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Model for selective PERK inhibition

Research Achievements

Model for selective PERK inhibition

The PERK kinase is an important regulator of the unfolded protein response (UPR) signaling pathway. COB student Hong Wang and lab leader Timothy Cardozo have developed the only pharmacophore model for selective PERK inhibition and identified 14 selective PERK inhibitors using in silico drug design strategies combined with experimental validation. These compounds, and the technology that generated them, can potentially lead to anti-cancer drug leads, but also has implications for Alzheimer’s research and other diseases affected by the UPR. This project fits directly into the interdisciplinary goals of the IGERT COB program because it required the team to grasp and understand protein homology modeling, computational drug-discovery techniques, including VLS, and experimental biology when the in silico results were tested at the bench. The results have been published in a paper, and a patent for the compounds is pending.