University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

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Professor Pomerantz receives prestigious CAREER grant

Professor William "Will" Pomerantz has received a prestigious CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). His grant is called the Chemistry of Life Process Program grant and is from the NSF Chemistry Division.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is one of the NSF's most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

Pomerantz' grant will aid in the development of fluorine nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy methods for detecting, quantifying, and defining novel modes of interactions at transcription factor-protein interfaces, including epigenetic regulatory proteins. The research and educational goals in Pomerantz' lab address long-standing questions about biomolecular communication between proteins drawing from findings in the disciplines of both chemistry and biology. Proteins termed transcription factors are the master regulators of cell function. They facilitate the complicated transfer of information that controls how the DNA code is used to make proteins and in some cases to cause disease. This research seeks to understand the details of the interactions between proteins and their underlying biology. The element fluorine is being used as a sensitive reporter for difficult-to-detect interactions at protein interfaces due to its unique spectroscopic properties and its absence in natural biological molecules. Given that transcription factors represent a major class of potential disease targets, this fluorine-based approach for studying protein-ligand interactions could significantly increase the repertoire of new targets for study and thereby open up avenues for improving the understanding of disease.

This project will include training for students new to working at the chemistry/biology interface and will engage the Osher Life-Long Learning Community’s interests in science literacy and the role of chemical biology in science and technology.