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Molecular Medicine

The Department of Molecular Medicine of Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope  advances translational medicine through breakthroughs in basic science using chemical biology and genomic approaches. Our investigators lead cutting-edge research to determine the mechanisms underlying cancer and other serious diseases such as diabetes. The goal of the department is to customize prevention and treatment of such illnesses by developing targeted therapies for an individual’s genomic profile. Success produces more effective clinical responses to our treatments and less drug toxicity and resistance.
 
The department is composed of a carefully crafted team of experts in chemistry, biology, biochemistry and biophysics that identifies new target molecules to treat cancer, creates personalized medicines from natural products, develops bioorganic approaches for cancer therapy, and evaluates genomic markers to predict cancer risk and response to therapy. By collaborating with multidisciplinary groups that include basic, translational and clinical researchers throughout City of Hope, we transform our key findings into novel therapies that improve the quality of life for patients everywhere.
 
The department has a robust pipeline of novel, molecularly targeted therapeutics that includes engineered antibodies and small molecules. To facilitate the translation of these and other clinical candidates, the department is home to the Chemical GMP Synthesis Facility (CGSF),   which is a 3000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility where our small and large molecule therapeutics are prepared for phase I and II clinical trials. The CGSF plays a key role in bridging basic science and translational medicine at City of Hope and allows for more efficient and cost-effective means to translate our science into clinical practice. We are able to bring promising new therapies to the patient faster and more effectively. 

To accomplish our mission, the Molecular Medicine team uses approaches and technologies that include:
 
  • sophisticated organic synthesis and medicinal chemistry
  • high-tech protein engineering
  • functional genomics, proteomics, and microarray gene expression profiling
  • high throughput screens of plant extracts and chemical libraries
  • advanced NMR spectroscopy and computational modeling
  • state-of-the-art X-ray crystallography
  • leading-edge super-resolution microscopy
 
These activities are supported by the Drug Discovery and Structural Biology (DDSB) Core, which is also housed in the department.
 
 
Laboratory Research
 
Jacob Berlin, Ph.D. - Molecular medicine
Dr. Berlin’s research group is focused on the application of nanomaterials for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
 
Yuan Chen, Ph.D. - Ubiquitin-like modifications
Dr. Chen investigates post-translational modifications by ubiquitin-like proteins via a wide range of techniques that include determination of protein structures and dynamics by NMR, investigation of enzyme mechanisms by biochemical and biophysical means, and examination of the role of these modifications in response to DNA damage by cellular and molecular biology methods.
 
David Horne, Ph.D., chair  - Synthetic/medicinal chemistry
Dr. Horne’s laboratory specializes in the synthesis of complex natural products and derivatives to develop molecularly targeted agents that are less toxic and more effective in treating the unmet needs in cancer and diabetes.
 
Robert Hickey, Ph.D. - Molecular Medicine
 
Tijana Jovanovic-Talisman, Ph.D. - Super-resolution microscopy
Dr. Jovanovic-Talisman’s research group employs novel, quantitative imaging techniques and nano-biological assays to investigate biological mechanisms and advance therapeutics.

Theodore G. Krontiris, M.D., Ph.D. - Genetic risk and disease
Dr. Krontiris and his group examine the relationship between certain unstable regions of the genome, known as hypervariable minisatellites, and cancer risk.

John Termini, Ph.D. - Molecular medicine
Members of Dr. Termini's laboratory are interested in understanding the role of DNA adducts in cancer. This encompasses mechanisms of formation, structure elucidation of novel adducts, quantitative determination in vivo, functional implications, and removal/repair.

John Williams, Ph.D. - X-ray crystallography
Dr. Williams specializes in the use of X-ray crystallography to study protein-protein and drug-protein interactions for the design of novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of cancer.
 

Molecular Medicine Faculty

Molecular Medicine

Molecular Medicine

The Department of Molecular Medicine of Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope  advances translational medicine through breakthroughs in basic science using chemical biology and genomic approaches. Our investigators lead cutting-edge research to determine the mechanisms underlying cancer and other serious diseases such as diabetes. The goal of the department is to customize prevention and treatment of such illnesses by developing targeted therapies for an individual’s genomic profile. Success produces more effective clinical responses to our treatments and less drug toxicity and resistance.
 
The department is composed of a carefully crafted team of experts in chemistry, biology, biochemistry and biophysics that identifies new target molecules to treat cancer, creates personalized medicines from natural products, develops bioorganic approaches for cancer therapy, and evaluates genomic markers to predict cancer risk and response to therapy. By collaborating with multidisciplinary groups that include basic, translational and clinical researchers throughout City of Hope, we transform our key findings into novel therapies that improve the quality of life for patients everywhere.
 
The department has a robust pipeline of novel, molecularly targeted therapeutics that includes engineered antibodies and small molecules. To facilitate the translation of these and other clinical candidates, the department is home to the Chemical GMP Synthesis Facility (CGSF),   which is a 3000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility where our small and large molecule therapeutics are prepared for phase I and II clinical trials. The CGSF plays a key role in bridging basic science and translational medicine at City of Hope and allows for more efficient and cost-effective means to translate our science into clinical practice. We are able to bring promising new therapies to the patient faster and more effectively. 

To accomplish our mission, the Molecular Medicine team uses approaches and technologies that include:
 
  • sophisticated organic synthesis and medicinal chemistry
  • high-tech protein engineering
  • functional genomics, proteomics, and microarray gene expression profiling
  • high throughput screens of plant extracts and chemical libraries
  • advanced NMR spectroscopy and computational modeling
  • state-of-the-art X-ray crystallography
  • leading-edge super-resolution microscopy
 
These activities are supported by the Drug Discovery and Structural Biology (DDSB) Core, which is also housed in the department.
 
 
Laboratory Research
 
Jacob Berlin, Ph.D. - Molecular medicine
Dr. Berlin’s research group is focused on the application of nanomaterials for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
 
Yuan Chen, Ph.D. - Ubiquitin-like modifications
Dr. Chen investigates post-translational modifications by ubiquitin-like proteins via a wide range of techniques that include determination of protein structures and dynamics by NMR, investigation of enzyme mechanisms by biochemical and biophysical means, and examination of the role of these modifications in response to DNA damage by cellular and molecular biology methods.
 
David Horne, Ph.D., chair  - Synthetic/medicinal chemistry
Dr. Horne’s laboratory specializes in the synthesis of complex natural products and derivatives to develop molecularly targeted agents that are less toxic and more effective in treating the unmet needs in cancer and diabetes.
 
Robert Hickey, Ph.D. - Molecular Medicine
 
Tijana Jovanovic-Talisman, Ph.D. - Super-resolution microscopy
Dr. Jovanovic-Talisman’s research group employs novel, quantitative imaging techniques and nano-biological assays to investigate biological mechanisms and advance therapeutics.

Theodore G. Krontiris, M.D., Ph.D. - Genetic risk and disease
Dr. Krontiris and his group examine the relationship between certain unstable regions of the genome, known as hypervariable minisatellites, and cancer risk.

John Termini, Ph.D. - Molecular medicine
Members of Dr. Termini's laboratory are interested in understanding the role of DNA adducts in cancer. This encompasses mechanisms of formation, structure elucidation of novel adducts, quantitative determination in vivo, functional implications, and removal/repair.

John Williams, Ph.D. - X-ray crystallography
Dr. Williams specializes in the use of X-ray crystallography to study protein-protein and drug-protein interactions for the design of novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of cancer.
 

Molecular Medicine Faculty

Molecular Medicine Faculty

Overview
Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope is responsible for fundamentally expanding the world’s understanding of how biology affects diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and diabetes.
 
 
Research Departments/Divisions

City of Hope is a leader in translational research - integrating basic science, clinical research and patient care.
 

Research Shared Services

City of Hope embodies the spirit of scientific collaboration by sharing services and core facilities with colleagues here and around the world.
 

Our Scientists

Our research laboratories are led by the best and brightest minds in scientific research.
 

City of Hope’s Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences equips students with the skills and strategies to transform the future of modern medicine.
Develop new therapies, diagnostics and preventions in the fight against cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
 


NEWS & UPDATES
  • It was 2009 when a City of Hope patient in her 40s learned that the cancer she had been fighting for several years had metastasized to her lungs. Her medical team ran genetic tests on the tumor, but none of the drug therapies available at the time targeted the known mutations in the tumor cells. […]
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  • Rachel Divine is a yoga therapist and patient leader for the Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center. She’s also a former City of Hope patient. When someone you know has cancer, even the word “cancer” can make you feel nervous, sleepless, depressed or more. But, as a yoga teacher for 15 ...
  •   Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 9 years old, Gina Marchini accepted the fact that she would need insulin the rest of her life. Every day, she injected herself with the lifesaving hormone. She also carefully controlled her diet and monitored the rise and fall of her blood glucose with military...
  • The defeat of cancer will require a team effort. Nowhere is this more necessary (or apparent) than in efforts to combat two of the most deadly forms of the disease  – pancreatic cancer and triple-negative breast cancer. It’s the approach City of Hope is taking with its newly launched multidisciplinary teams, br...
  • It’s a reasonable question: Why is the National Cancer Institute funding a study on preventing heart failure? The answer is reasonable as well: Rates of heart failure are drastically high among childhood cancer survivors — 15 times higher than among people the same age who were never treated for cancer. T...
  • Many teenagers take a break from academics during the summer, but not the eight high school students enrolled in the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Creativity Awards program at City of Hope. They took the opportunity to obtain as much hands-on research experience as possible, learning fro...
  • About one in eight women will develop breast cancer at some point in her life. In fact, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, behind skin cancer. Although women can’t change some risk factors, such as genetics and the natural aging process, there are certain things they can do to lower thei...
  • As genetic testing becomes more sophisticated, doctors and their patients are finding that such tests can lead to the discovery of previously unknown cancer risks. In his practice at City of Hope, Thomas Slavin, M.D., an assistant clinical professor in the Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics, sees the full spe...
  • And the winners are … everyone in the San Gabriel Valley. The recipients of City of Hope’s first-ever Healthy Living grants have been announced, and the future is looking healthier already. In selecting San Gabriel Valley organizations to receive the grants, City of Hope’s Community Benefits Advisory Council ch...
  • Barry Leshowitz is a former City of Hope patient and a family advisor for the Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center. It’s been almost seven years since I checked into a local hospital in Phoenix for a hip replacement, only to be informed by the surgeon that he had canceled the surgery....
  • When it comes to science, the best graduate schools don’t just train scientists, they prepare their students for a lifetime of learning, accomplishment and positive impact on society. At City of Hope, the Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences goes one step further – by preparing students to...
  • Cancer affects not just the cancer patient, but everyone around him or her, even after treatment is complete. The challenges can include the fear of cancer recurrence, coping with cancer’s economic impact and the struggle to achieve work-life balance post-treatment. Family members and loved ones of cancer patie...
  •   Bladder cancer facts: Bladder cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the bladder. 2015 estimates: 74,000 new cases of bladder cancer diagnosed 16,000 deaths from bladder cancer (about 11,510 in men and 4,490 in women) Risk factors for bladder cancer: Smoking: Smokers...
  • Women with ovarian cancer have questions about the most promising treatment options, revolutionary research avenues, survivorship and, of course, the potential impact on their personal lives. Now, together in one place, are experts who can provide answers. On Saturday, Sept. 12, the 2015 Ovarian Cancer Survivor...