Ph.D., The University of British Columbia, Chemistry (2023)
Bachelor of Science, University of Waterloo, Chemistry (2017)
James Chen, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Inhibitors of tubulin polyglycylases and isopentenyl diphosphate isomerase, The University of British Columbia (September 1, 2017 - March 1, 2023)
Microtubules are hollow cylindrical structures made up of the proteins alpha-, and beta-tubulin,
and they play important roles in cell division, cell motility, and cell shape maintenance. This
functional diversity is regulated by different tubulin posttranslational modifications (PTMs).
Polyglycylation is one of the PTMs that has been shown to be important for sperm motility. The
first part of this thesis describes the synthesis and testing of the enzymes responsible for tubulin
polyglycylation. These inhibitors will be very useful tools in studying the structure and mechanism
of these enzymes.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the blood and high levels of cholesterol increase
the risk of coronary heart disease. Isopentenyl pyrophosphate (IPP) and dimethylallyl
pyrophosphate (DMAPP) are precursors for cholesterol. The second part of this thesis describes
the development of inhibitors against the enzyme that catalyzes the interconversion of IPP and
DMAPP. Such inhibitors could potentially serve as lead compounds in the development of
HIPK4: An essential regulator of spermiogenesis and a target for male contraception, Stanford University (3/24/2023 - Present)
Homeodomain-interacting kinase 4 (HIPK4) as a promising target for male contraception that is selectively expressed in the round to elongating spermatids. Knocking out Hipk4 in mice causes infertility without any other harmful effects. Overall, our research will identify HIPK4 as a promising male contraceptive target and lead to the development of safe and effective contraceptive options for men.