Chemistry
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Chemistry Experts

Zhijun Li 

Professor of Bioinformatics
Chemistry & Biochemistry
University of the Sciences
United States of America

Biography

"My current research efforts focus on utilizing computational and bioinformatics methods to gain insight into protein sequence, structure and function relationships and to explore their application in molecular modeling, drug design and protein engineering. There are several research areas I'm interested in. First is the development of computational tools to aid in the structural prediction of transmembrane proteins such as G-protein coupled receptors. Transmembrane proteins are essential to many important cellular activities such as signal and energy transduction, mediation of the senses and immune recognition. These proteins are important therapeutic targets. The G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) superfamily alone represents the targets of ~27% of drugs currently available in the market. Despite their biological importance, high-resolution TM protein structures remain scarce compared with soluble proteins. As a result, computational modeling has played a key role in the studies of membrane proteins. A second research area of interest is to apply structural modeling tools to the construction of protein and protein-complex models designed to help elucidate biological mechanisms. An active project currently ongoing in this area is to model three-dimensional structures of chemoreceptor-CheR complexes through collaboration with experimentalists. Another project is to construct the structure models of tumor endothelial marker-antibody complex. The third area of interest is to apply the knowledge gained through the analysis of protein structures to biomedical problems such as computer-aided molecular design and protein engineering. We're especially interested in the emerging field of network medicine. For instance, works are under-way to design selective protein kinase inhibitors for the treatment of cancer."

Research Interest

Using computational and bioinformatic methods to generate and analyze three-dimensional structures of protein molecules, and to gain insight into protein sequence, structure, and function relationships.

Publications

  • Menezes MJ, Guo Y, Zhang J, Riley LG, Cooper ST, Thorburn DR, Li J, Dong D, Li Z, Glessner J, Davis RL. Mutation in mitochondrial ribosomal protein S7 (MRPS7) causes congenital sensorineural deafness, progressive hepatic and renal failure and lactic acidemia. Human molecular genetics. 2015 Jan 2;24(8):2297-307.

  • Chaudhari R, Heim AJ, Li Z. Improving homology modeling of G-protein coupled receptors through multiple-template derived conserved inter-residue interactions. Journal of computer-aided molecular design. 2015 May 1;29(5):413-20.

  • Yuan X, Yang M, Chen X, Zhang X, Sukhadia S, Musolino N, Bao H, Chen T, Xu C, Wang Q, Santoro S. Characterization of the first fully human anti-TEM1 scFv in models of solid tumor imaging and immunotoxin-based therapy. Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy. 2017 Mar 1;66(3):367-78.

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