Congratulations to Ainoa Figuerola-Conchas for her successful thesis defence
This past Tuesday 23rd of January 2018, Aiona Figuerola-Conchas successfully defended her thesis entitled “The AAA ATPase p97: From the Use of Genetics to the Development of New Chemical Tools to Study its Functions”.
Ainoa began her thesis in the laboratory of Prof. Monica Gotta in May of 2013 where she studied the function of a protein called p97, of the AAA-ATPase family. P97, also known as valosin-containing protein (VCP) or transitional endoplasmic reticulum ATPase (TERA), is a multifunctional protein involved in varied cellular functions including mitosis, autophagy and endosomal sorting, notably by operating as a component of protein and DNA quality control systems involving degradation of its target proteins through the proteasome. Mutations in p97 have been associated with cancer as well as neurological diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and inclusion body myopathy with Paget's disease of bone and frontotemporal dementia (IBMPFD). Because of its central role in DNA repair and cell-cycle control p97 is considered to be a potentially useful drug target. Since p97 knockout is lethal, Ainoa’s PhD work was focused on developing and performing a small molecule screening protocol to find drugs that only partially inhibit p97 function. Ainoa identified and characterized several compounds that selectively inhibit only a subset of p97 functions and that display different phenotypes when applied to cells. These novel compounds not only expand our understanding of p97’s endogenous functions, they may also serve as a basis for future drug-based therapies targeting p97.
Congratulations Ainoa is wishing her the best for her future!
Posted by: P. Nunes-Hasler5 Feb 2018