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Previous Speakers (2022 part 2)

Some seminars were recorded and accessible for a limited time on our youtube channel.

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January 5th, 2023

Host: Katherine Donovan


Sai Gourisankar

Stanford University

Chemical Rewiring of Cancer Drivers to Activate Apoptosis

Sai Gourisankar is a PhD student in Gerald Crabtree’s laboratory at Stanford University. His studies developed chemical inducers of proximity to regulate endogenous chromatin and transcriptional regulators in genetically unmodified cells, using a combination of biochemical, genomic, and chemical approaches in collaboration with the laboratory of Nathanael Gray. Prior to joining Stanford in 2017 and studying chemical biology, Sai acquired an MPP from University of Oxford and originally obtained both a B.S. and a B.A. in Chemical Engineering and Liberal Arts from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Xingui Liu

University of Dundee

Discovery of XL01126: a PROTAC degrader of Leucine Rich Repeat Kinase 2

Xingui is currently a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow in Prof. Alessio Ciulli’s lab at the Center for Targeted Protein Degradation (CeTPD), where she is focusing her research on developing PROTAC degraders of Leucine Rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2), a promising target for Parkinson’s disease. Before joining the Ciulli group, she was a Postdoc associate at the University of Florida working with Prof. Guangrong Zheng and Prof. Daohong Zhou.  At the University of Florida, she was part of a team that developed very effective BCL-XL/BCL-2 PROTAC degrader molecules. One of which was licensed to the Dialectic Therapeutics and led to the development of one of the first VHL-based PROTACs to enter the clinic and to be dosed in human patients for the treatment of hematological malignancies. She completed her PhD in Guangrong Zheng’s lab at University of Arkansans for Medical Sciences, where she designed, synthesized, and characterized delta-tocotrienol based radio-protectors.  


January 19th, 2023

Host: Mikolaj Slabicki

Zuzanna Kozicka


Molecular glue degraders of cyclin K and the emerging rules for molecular glue design

Zuzanna is a very recent PhD graduate working in the laboratory of Nicolas Thomä at the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel, Switzerland. She has an avid interest in molecular glue degraders and, more generally, in understanding how changes in protein interactomes can be brought about by the binding of small molecules. Prior to joining the Thomä lab in late 2018, Zuzanna obtained an Integrated Masters degree from the University of Edinburgh and during her studies she undertook various research projects, including with Nenad Ban at ETH and with Alessio Ciulli at the University of Dundee.  

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Host: Radek Nowak

Breanna Zerfas


HiBit-SpyTag: A minimal tag for covalent protein capture and degrader development.

Breanna Zerfas is currently the biochemistry and structural biology group leader and a senior scientist at the Center for Protein Degradation (CPD) in the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She received her PhD in chemical biology from Boston College in 2017, working with Prof. Jianmin Gao on the design and synthesis of unnatural peptide antibiotics. From there, Breanna moved to the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Purdue University as a post-doc with Prof. Darci Trader. While at Purdue, her research focused on the screening and development of fluorescence-based probes selective for various isoforms of the proteasome to be used in live cells. In the spring of 2020, Breanna moved back to Boston and joined the CPD, where her work primarily focuses on the development of new assays and chemical biology tools for target identification and high throughput screening.

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