SEP 24, 2014 07:00 AM PDT

Making molecular prosthetics

  • Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of Illinois
      Professor Burke completed his undergraduate studies at Johns Hopkins University in 1998 and his Ph.D. at Harvard University in 2003. After completing an M.D. at Harvard Medical School, he joined the faculty in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois in June of 2005. His research interests are in the area of organic chemistry with a specific focus on the synthesis and study of small molecules with protein-like functions.

    Diseases caused by an excess of protein function can often be treated by small molecule inhibitors. In contrast, many diseases caused by missing proteins cannot be addressed with this classic therapeutic strategy. Emerging evidence suggests that small molecules may further possess the capacity to autonomously replicate the functions of many missing proteins, thereby operating as prostheses on the molecular scale. A powerful new building block-based approach for small molecule synthesis is facilitating the systematic study of a variety of small molecules with protein-like functions and thereby brightening the prospects of realizing the substantial potential of this molecular prosthetics approach.

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