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K-State Today

April 27, 2023

William C. K. Pomerantz will deliver Phi Lambda Upsilon Lecture in Chemistry

Submitted by Takashi Ito

William C. K. Pomerantz, professor of chemistry at the University of Minnesota, will deliver the Phi Lambda Upsilon Lecture in Chemistry. Pomerantz will present "Chemical Epigenetics Approaches for Developing Selective Inhibitors and Degraders of Bromodomain-Containing Proteins" at 1:05 p.m. Thursday, April 27, in 4 King Hall.

Abstract: Fluorine is the 13th most abundant element in the Earth's crust and most abundant halogen but remains largely absent from nature's most essential biopolymers and natural products. Despite this absence in biology, organofluorine compounds hold significant promise for impacting human health, including for imaging applications, structural biology, drug screening and drug development. As one innovation, Pomerantz's lab developed protein-observed 19F NMR, or PrOF NMR, approaches using 19F-labeled protein side-chains that are enriched at protein-protein-interaction interfaces. The lab uses PrOF NMR for characterizing protein-protein, nucleic acid interactions, and drug discovery applications. This talk will describe several case studies where PrOF NMR has been applied for fragment screening, ligand deconstruction, and screening of protein mixtures to develop inhibitors of epigenetic complexes. New applications toward large and multidomain proteins will also be highlighted.

Pomerantz is a McKnight Presidential Fellow and Merck professor chemistry in the department of chemistry at the University of Minnesota. Pomerantz received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Ithaca College in 2002, followed by a Fulbright Fellowship at ETH, Zürich with Professors François Diederich and Jack Dunitz. He obtained a doctorate in chemistry under Professors Sam Gellman and Nick Abbott at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was a postdoctoral fellow under Professor Anna Mapp at the University of Michigan. He joined the chemistry faculty at the University of Minnesota in 2012 and was granted tenure in 2018.

His research focuses on the development of chemical biology and medicinal chemistry approaches for modulating protein-protein interactions involved in transcriptional complexes, most notably those involved in promoting cancer and inflammatory disease. PrOF NMR is one tool in Pomerantz's lab that is being developed as a new method for fragment-based drug discovery. PrOF NMR has been applied toward inhibitor development for a diverse class of epigenetic protein complexes, as well for the characterization of large macromolecular complexes, including those involving large protein-protein interactions, nucleic acids, and intrinsically disordered proteins.

Pomerantz's research and teaching has been recognized through several awards including a Sidney Kimmel Cancer Scholar award, an NSF CAREER award, a Cottrell Scholar Award, an ICBS Rising Star in Chemical Biology award, and a George W. Taylor Distinguished Teaching award. Pomerantz is currently the global council co-chair for the International Chemical Biology Society, vice-chair for the Early Career Board Member for ACS Med. Chem. Lett, councilor for the American Chemical Society, and standing member of the NIH Chemical Biology and Probes study section. He has published 85 manuscripts and book chapters and has given more than 110 seminars on his lab's research.

Read more about Pomerantz's research.