18 octobre 2012: Dr Thomas P Sakmar

Thursday, October 18th 2012, 12h30

Thomas P. SAKMAR
Richard M. & Isabel P. Furlaud Professor
Laboratory of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
The Rockefeller University, New York


"Twenty Five Years of the Magnificent Seven: GPCR Research from Rhodopsin to Chemokine Receptors"
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), or seven-helical receptors, comprise the largest family of cell-surface receptors in the human genome and are molecular targets for the nearly one-third of all small molecule pharmaceutical agents. Recent advances in molecular and structural studies of GPCRs have revolutionized drug discovery. Our aim is to elucidate the principles that underlie ligand recognition in GPCRs and to understand with chemical precision how receptors change conformation in the membrane bilayer when ligands bind. This lecture will describe the remarkable story of how early studies of visual pigments to elucidate the physical basis of trichromatic color vision led directly to the development of small molecule HIV entry blockers that target and chemokine re-ceptors CCR5 and CXCR4. The future of GPCR-targeted drug discovery will be discussed in the context of new interdisciplinary technologies to study receptor dynamics and allosteric mechanisms.ext

Thomas P. Sakmar is a physician-scientist and the Richard M. & Isabel P. Furlaud Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry at The Rockefeller University in New York. His research group is focused on developing and applying new technologies to enhance drug discovery. He is an active advisor in the academic sector and serves as a consultant and board member in the biotechnology industry. He received his A.B. degree in chemistry from the University of Chicago and his M.D. degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. Dr. Sakmar completed a residency in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston and conducted post-doctoral research in the laboratory of Nobel Prize winner H. Gobind Khorana in the Department of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Sakmar also has made major contributions to understanding how drugs affect the function of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and he has recently developed a toolbox of new technologies to enable GPRC-targeted drug discovery. He has given over 125 invited scientific presentations and has published more than 160 scientific papers, including many highly cited papers in high impact international journals. His former trainees hold faculty positions at major research universities worldwide and many work in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Dr. Sakmar has been an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in their Neuroscience Program and a Senior Scholar of the Ellison Medical Foundation. He was Acting President of Rockefeller University for 19 months in 2002–2003. While Acting President, he recruited several exceptional faculty members, wrapped up a successful $300M fund raising campaign and founded a privately funded human embryonic stem cell initiative. He has served on numerous academic, institutional and governmental committees and panels and has consulted widely for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, including serving on scientific advisory boards of Leukosite, Inc., Natural Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Resolvyx, Inc. and Anchor Therapeutics, Inc. He is currently on the board of the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation and was a Director of The Medical Letter, a non-profit drug evaluation newsletter with nearly 200,000 physician subscribers.