Professor, Chemistry of Life Processes Institute
Cancer and Physical Sciences,Hematologic Malignancies
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Professor O'Halloran's research interests center on the regulatory biology and chemistry of intracellular metal receptors involved in signaling, trafficking and differentiation pathways. Recent work in his group has led to the development of new types of therapeutic agents for the targeted delivery of well established cytotoxic agents (organic and inorganic) to cancer cells. These ongoing nanotechnology studies have led to new multifunctional anticancer agents that are effective in animal models of lymphoma and triple negative breast cancer. Research in the O'Halloran lab also focuses on how metals control cellular growth and proliferation. The interdisciplinary approach employs genetics, structural biology, synthetic chemistry and biochemistry to understand the function of novel intracellular regulatory and trafficking receptors for zinc, copper and iron. These studies reveal mechanisms of oxidative damage, mechanisms of metal trafficking by metallochaperones and molecular mechanisms of gene regulation by metalloregulatory proteins. Results from the O'Halloran lab provide a basis for understanding the mechanisms of platinum, molybdenum and arsenic anticancer drugs, and also guides the development of new agents with improved therapeutic index.