Damon Runyon Researchers

Meet Our Scientists
Jonathan G. Van Vranken, PhD

Dr. Van Vranken is utilizing the fact that in the presence of increasing heat, proteins unfold and aggregate: a process known as thermal melting. All proteins have a characteristic melting temperature and this property can be influenced by numerous factors including ligand-binding events, protein-protein and protein-nucleic acid interactions, and post-translational modifications. Thermal shift assays can be employed to quantify perturbations in this physical property. By combining classical thermal shift assays with modern quantitative proteomics and sample multiplexing, Dr. Van Vranken is able to assess changes in protein thermal stability of thousands of proteins in a single experiment. Using these methods, he is able to screen the proteome for drug-induced changes in protein thermal stability to determine the protein targets of compounds used for the treatment of cancer and other human disease. Highlighting the diverse applications of this technology, he also hopes to utilize these assays to interrogate the cellular response to changes in nutrient availability and other exogenous stimuli. 

Project title: “Systematic identification of metabolite-protein interactions in human cells"
Institution: Harvard Medical School
Named Award: The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research Fellow
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Steven P. Gygi, PhD
Cancer Type: All Cancers
Research Area: Proteomics