UF researcher receives grant to study therapeutic strategies targeting BET proteins

A University of Florida researcher has received a four-year $1.2 million grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to study how bromodomain and extra-terminal domain (BET) proteins may play a role in treating cancer. 

Alberto Perez, Ph.D.

Alberto Perez, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of chemistry, is leading the research project, which aims to increase understanding of BET proteins. These proteins regulate gene expression and play a direct role in cancers, such as lung, breast and prostate, and viral infections. Over the past decade, therapeutic strategies targeting BET proteins to treat these diseases have been unsuccessful because of toxicity and drug resistance issues. 

In the new project, the team will use a range of computational tools including machine learning and physics-based approaches to understand the binding mechanisms of the proteins. Characterizing a promising alternative region of BET proteins will pave the way for novel therapeutic strategies to overcome current challenges. 

Perez, a member of the UF Health Cancer Center’s Mechanisms of Oncogenesis research program, is collaborating on the new study with Gaetano Montelione, Ph.D., at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Monica Roth, Ph.D., at Rutgers University.

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