Dr. Ping Li
A major cause of cancer death in humans is castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Protein type 5 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSD17β5) is considered a good drug target for treating CRPC. Studies have also shown that obesity plays an important role in developing cancers. Inhibition of recently discovered protein ghrelin O-acyltransferase (GOAT) looks like a promising treatment for obesity, thus decreasing cancer risk. My laboratory is working to understand the molecular mechanisms of these cancer-related proteins, using molecular biology, enzyme kinetics, protein crystallography and synthetic organic chemistry (to synthesize mechanistic probes). The findings will help us design enzyme inhibitors, and will eventually lead to the development of drugs for CRPC and obesity.