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Smithgall Lab

Principal Investigator

Thomas E. Smithgall, PhD
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533 Bridgeside Point II
450 Technology Dr.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Research Description

Research in our laboratory is centered on drug discovery related to HIV/AIDS and cancer.  While antiretroviral drugs have transformed HIV infection from a life-threatening illness to a chronic condition, they do not clear the virus from the patient and require life-long administration.  Our group has discovered small molecules that block the functions of the HIV-1 Nef virulence factor.  These compounds potently suppress HIV replication and restore immune recognition of HIV-positive cells, raising the exciting possibility of their translational potential in new strategies to eliminate latent viral reservoirs.  Non-receptor protein-tyrosine kinases, including members of the Src family, represent exciting drug targets for leukemia and many other cancers.  Most current kinase inhibitors compete for ATP binding at the kinase domain active site.  However, structural conservation of kinase active sites limits the clinical applications of ATP-competitive kinase inhibitors as well as their utility as chemical probes of individual kinase functions.  To address these issues, we are pursuing drug discovery strategies to find small molecules that enhance the natural allosteric mechanisms associated with kinase regulation.  Promising drug candidates have potential clinical utility in acute myeloid leukemia, either as stand-alone drugs or in combination with existing ATP-site inhibitors. 


Haibin Shi, PhD, Research Assistant Professor

Shoucheng Du, PhD, Research Assistant Professor

Li Chen, PhD, Research Technologist IV

Ari Selzer, Graduate Student (MBSB Program)

Giancarlo Gonzalez-Areizaga, Graduate Student (MBSB Program)

Kasia Thomas, Graduate Student (MBSB Program)

Kiera Regan, Undergraduate Research Assistant


John J. Alvarado -Research Assistant Professor
Lori Emert-Sedlak -Research Assistant Professor
Sherry Shu -Research Assistant Professor