I am currently a second year pharmacology graduate student in Raymond Blind’s lab, where I am studying a promiscuous inositol kinase, IPMK, which has been implicated in diabetes and cancer. Using traditional biochemistry techniques, I am determining how IPMK is integrated into classical signaling networks, and what substrates it has within mammalian cells. Furthermore, I am attempting to generate a molecular model of the enzyme using X-ray crystallography, which can be used in future structure-based drug design efforts. These studies may help validate IPMK as a viable drug target for the treatment of diabetes or cancer.
My clinical mentor, Dr. Kevin Niswender, is a physician scientist in the department of medicine who regularly sees patients with metabolic disorders at the Veteran’s Administration hospital. My time in the clinic with Dr. Niswender will provide me with a practical viewpoint of the struggles patients’ with metabolic diseases face, and where the greatest therapeutic needs are currently.