April 26 Public Lecture: Smarter Drug Design
By Linda DuShane White & Heather Rock Woods
Smith (SSRL) will speak on ‘Smarter Drugs—How Protein Crystallography
Revolutionizes Drug Design’ for the SLAC Public Lecture on Tuesday,
April 26, at 7:30 p.m. in Panofsky Auditorium.
Photo by Amanda Prado
According to Smith, protein crystallography allows scientists to design
drugs in a much more efficient way than the standard methods
traditionally used by large drug companies, which can cost close to a
billion dollars and take 10 to 15 years.
“A lot of the work can be compressed down,” Smith said. Protein
crystallography enables researchers to learn the structure of molecules
involved in disease and health. Seeing the loops, folds and placement of
atoms in anything from a virus to a healthy cell membrane gives
important information about how these things work—and how to encourage,
sidestep or stop their functions. Drug design can be much faster when
the relationship between structure and function tells you what area of a
molecule to target.
Smith will use a timeline to illustrate the traditional methods of drug
development and the new ways it can be done now. “It is very exciting
work. There have been some failures, but many successes too.”
A new drug to combat the flu was developed in a year or so. Smith will
tell us how. He will also highlight drugs developed to combat HIV,
Tuberculosis, hypertension and Anthrax.
After two decades of research in New Zealand, Smith came to SSRL in late
2003 to do structural biology with SSRL’s high-intensity x-rays and is
developing experiments for the x-ray free electron laser being built at
Born and educated in New Zealand, his research studies have included how
bacteria become resistant to drugs, bacterial cell wall biosynthesis,
antibiotic resistance and viral DNA packaging. He won the Applied
Biosystems/NZSBMB Award in 2003.
The public lecture is free and no reservations are necessary. A photo ID
is required to enter the Lab.
For more information on the Public Lecture Series, see: