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Faculty Investigators

COBRE Pilot Project Leaders are tenured or tenure-track faculty who are interested in developing a promising new line of research that incorporates a significant emphasis on protein structure and function, and that will take advantage of both the interactivity among Center participants and the Center's Core Labs. Pilot Project Leaders may be junior faculty, returning COBRE Graduates, or more established faculty researchers whose participation will strengthen the center overall. These grants support proposals of high quality in terms of originality, scientific interest, and likelihood of growing into a larger project that will be competitive for funding through the NIH R01 mechanism.

Current Pilot Project Directors

Mark Farrell

Mark Farrell (University of Kansas)
Targeting viral sweet spots with lectin mediated immunotherapy (2018-19)

Erika Geisbrecht

Erika Geisbrecht (Kansas State University)
Metabolic defects promote pathogenesis in a muscular dystrophy model (2018-19)

Minae Mure

Minae Mure (University of Kansas)
Crystallization and inhibitor screening of lysyl oxidase-like 2 (2018-19)

Ho Leung Ng

Ho Leung Ng (Kansas State University)
Identifying antimalarial drug targets (2018-19)

John Taylor

John Taylor (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Fragment based screen towards the development of novel PDK inhibitors (2018-19)

Christopher Ward

Christopher Ward (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Delineate the X-ray structure of CU062, a polycystin-1 ligand (2018-19)

Past Pilot Project Directors

 Katsura Asano photo

Katsura Asano (Kansas State University)
Molecular basis of control of translational initiation in eukaryotes (2012-2013)

Ryan Altman

Ryan Altman  (University of Kansas)
Inhibition of Bacterial Resistance Enzymes using Structure-guided Drug Design (2016-2017)
Inhibition of Bacterial Aminoglycoside Resistance Enzymes using a Fragment-based Drug Design Approach (2015-2016)

James Bann photo

James Bann (Wichita State University)
Structure and Mechanism of CS1 Pilus Assembly (2005-2007)

Moriah Beck photo

Moriah Beck (Wichita State University)
Regulation of palladin structure and function (2014-2015)

Fariba Behbod

Fariba Behbod (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Role of BCL9 in STAT3 Signaling and DCIS Invasive Progression (2015-2016)

Cory Berkland

Cory Berkland (University of Kansas)
Antigen-drug Conjugates as Potent Antigen-specific Immunotherapies (2015-2016)

Xue-Wen Chen photo

Xue-Wen Chen (University of Kansas)
Computational Proteomics: Protein Interaction Prediction (2004-2007)

Jeremy Chien photo

Jeremy Chien (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Structure and function of RABL3 in paclitaxel resistance (2014-2015)

David Davido

David Davido (University of Kansas)
Determination of Protein-Protein Interactions of the HSV-1 ICP0 C-terminal Domain (2016-2017)


A. Sally Davis (Kansas State University)
Characterization of protease TMPRSS2 and its interaction with influenza A (2016-2017)

Roberto de Guzman photo

Roberto De Guzman (University of Kansas)
Interactions of Salmonella Needle and Tip Proteins (2008-2010)
Structure and Dynamics of Bacterial Needle Proteins

Eric Deeds

Eric Deeds (University of Kansas)
Characterizing and developing inhibitors of proteasome assembly (2017-18)

David Eichhorn photo

David Eichhorn (Wichita State University)
Synthesis of Model Complexes for Nitrile Hydratase (2004-2007)

Mark Farrell

Mark Farrell (University of Kansas)
The inhibition of polysialytransferase ST8Sia II: A novel approach toward the prevention of cancer metastasis (2017-18)

Revathi Govind photo

Revathi Govind (Kansas State University)
Structure-function studies on Clostridium difficile anti-sigma factor TcdC (2012-2013)

Scott Hefty photo

P. Scott Hefty (University of Kansas)
Structural and functional genomics for Chlamydial hypothetical proteins (2012-2013)

Weijun Huang photo

Weijun Huang (University of Kansas)
Structural and Functional Studies on D52 Tumor Proteins from Humans  (2004-2007)

Wonpil photo

Wonpil Im (University of Kansas)
NMR and Computational Studies of Protein Translocation in Bacterial Needles (2008-2010)

Carey K. Johnson

Carey K. Johnson (University of Kansas)
Understanding conformational control of nitric oxide synthase activity (2017-18)
Tracking Nitric Oxide Synthase Conformations and Dynamics (2015-2016)

John Karanicolas photo

John Karanicolas (University of Kansas)
Towards Novel Inhibitors of OX40L-OX40: A Dominant Negative Approach (ARRA) (2009-2011)

Krzysztof Kuczera

Krzysztof Kuczera (University of Kansas)
Fast processes in optogenetic systems: Experiments and modeling (2017-18)

Alexey Ladokhin

Alexey Ladokhin (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Conformational switching in diphtheria toxin translocation (T) domain: From protein folding to targeted drug delivery (2017-18)

Audrey Lamb photo

Audrey Lamb (University of Kansas)
Structural Analysis of Siderophore Biosynthesis  (2004-2005)

Jed Lampe

Jed Lampe (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Defining the Hydrophobic and Electrostatic Interactions between CYP3A and CYPb5 (2015-2016)

Ping Li photo

Ping Li (Kansas State University)
Engineering Human NRMT1 for its Substract Profiling (2015-2106)
Expression and purification of an obesity-important enzyme hGOAT in E.coli (2012-2013)

Shiguang Liu photo

Shiguang Liu (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Identification of Inhibitors and Substrates of Phex (2004-2007)

Robin Maser, Associate Professor, University of Kansas Medical Center

Robin Maser (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Heterotrimeric G Protein Binding by Polycystin-1, an Atypical GPCR (2015-2016)

Kristin Michel photo

Kristin Michel (Kansas State University)
Structure and Target Protease of Anopheles SRPN6, an Inhibitor of Malaria Parasite Infection (ARRA) (2009-2011)

Katie Mitchell-Koch

Katie Mitchell-Koch (Wichita State University)
Structure-dynamics of cofactor binding in human aldose reductases (2017-18)

Alexander Moise photo

Alexander Moise (University of Kansas)
Structural Characterization of Lecithin:Retinol Acyltransferase (ARRA) (2009-2011)

Silvia Mora photo

Silvia Mora (Kansas State University)
Protein Interactions that Regulate Leptin Secretion (2004-2006)

Jackob Moskovitz, Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Kansas

Jackob Moskovitz (University of Kansas)
Effect of Methionine Substitution and Oxidation on the Structure-Function of COMT (2015-2016)

Minae Mure

Minae Mure (University of Kansas)
Screening of crystallization conditions of human LOXL2 and fragment library screening of its specific inhibitors (2017-18)

Kristi Neufeld

Kristi Neufeld (University of Kansas)
Structure function analysis of tumor suppressor APC protein (2017-18)

Raymond Perez photo

Raymond Perez (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Rational design of SPRY2-Cbl inhibitors as potential anticancer drugs (2014-2015)

Jurgen Richt

Jurgen Richt (Kansas State University)
Interaction between Rift Valley Fever Virus glycoprotein and heparan sulfate (2017-18)

Mario Rivera photo

Mario Rivera (University of Kansas)
A new approach to antimicrobial discovery: Design protein/protein interaction modulators to perturb bacterial iron metabolism (2014-2015)
Dynamics and Interactions in the Release of Iron Stored in Bacterioferritin (2010-2012)
Mechanisms of Heme Capture by the Hemophore Secreted by Pseudomonas aeruginosa (2008)

Raymond R.R. Rowland photo

Raymond R.R. Rowland (Kansas State University)
Structure and Nucleolar Function of SARS N Protein (2004-2006)

Emily Scott photo

Emily Scott (University of Kansas)
Structure and Function of CYP17A1, a Critical Enzyme in Human Androgen Biosynthesis (2010-2012)

Kathrin Schrick

Kathrin Schrick (Kansas State University)
Ligand-binding and structural studies of the START domain from HD-Zip proteins (2016-2017)

Alexandre Shvartsburg

Alexandre Shvartsburg (Wichita State University)
Characterization of histone proteoforms using ion mobility separations (2016-2017)

Irina Smirnova  photo

Irina Smirnova (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Proteomic Approach to Study Diabetic Heart Protein Posttranslational Modification (2005-2007)

Liskin Swint-Kruse photo

Liskin Swint-Kruse (University of Kansas Medical Center)
The Cra-FruK complex alters regulation of central metabolism of gamma-proteobacteria (2014-2015)

Liang Tang photo

Liang Tang (University of Kansas)
Mechanisms of Genome Packaging in DNA Viruses (2010-2012)
Signal Transduction of Two-Component System (2008-2010)

Robert Unckless

Robert Unckless (University of Kansas)
A functional dissection of the maintenance genetic variation in immune genes (2017-18)

Michael Zhuo Wang

Michael Zhuo Wang (University of Kansas)
Expression and Function of CYP5122A1, an Essential Leishmanial Sterol Biosynthesis Enzyme (2016-2017)

Qize Wei photo

Qize Wei (Kansas State University)
Roles of MyoGEF and its Interacting Partners in Cell Division and Cell Signaling (2005-2007)

Kandatege Wimalasena photo

Kandatege Wimalasena (Wichita State University)
Structure-Activity Relationship Studies of Dopamine beta-Monooxygenase (2009-2012)

Michael S. Wolfe

Michael Wolfe (University of Kansas)
Targeting the Malarial Presenilin Homolog (2017-18)

Liang Xu photo

Liang Xu (University of Kansas)
Fragment based discovery of chemical probes for RNA-binding protein Musashi-2 (2017-18)
Fragment-based drug discovery for inhibitors of RNA-binding protein HuR (2014-2015)

Asma Zaidi photo

Asma Zaidi (University of Kansas)
Trafficking of the Plasma Membrane CA2+-ATPase to Rafts (2004-2007)

Hao Zhu, Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, University of Kansas Medical Center

Hao Zhu (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Atomic Structure of a Multi-Domain Redox Enzyme Ncb5or Implicated in Diseases (2015-2016)

Wolfman Zueckert

Wolfram Zueckert (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Structure-function of a bacterial lipoprotein secretion chaperone (2017-18)