Moving forward from Death: Expanding the Influence of the BCL2 Family

Friday, August 30, 2019

Dr. William J. Placzek

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Anti-apoptotic BCL2 family proteins serve as key regulators of cell survival and their upregulation has been implicated in tumorigenesis and chemosensitivity. The proposed talk will discuss recent efforts to develop small-molecule inhibitors targeting the anti-apoptotic BCL2 family members. Further, it will explore how the resulting inhibitors provide insignt into multiple cell-regulatory events that are impacted by the anti-apoptotic BCL2 family.

William J. Placzek is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. He is also the Director of the Central Alabama High-Field NMR Facility, Co-Director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Structural Biology Shared Facility, member of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC), and the Center for Structural Biology. The focus of his research is cancer drug discovery using synthetic peptides and structure-based drug design. Dr. Placzek received his B.A. degree in Chemistry from Washington University in Saint Louis in 2002 and his Ph.D. in 2007 from the Scripps Research Institute under the supervision of Dr. Kurt Wüthrich. During his postdoctoral work in Dr. Maurizio Pellecchia's group at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, he worked on the development of peptide and small-molecule inhibitors of the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family of proteins and peptide-drug conjugates targeting the ephrin family of proteins. He joined the UAB faculty in 2012.

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