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Karen Anderson, PhD

Professor of Pharmacology and of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry; Co-Leader, Developmental Therapeutics, Yale Cancer Center; Co-Director Therapeutics/Chemotherapy Program

Contact Information

Karen Anderson, PhD

Office Location

Mailing Address

  • Pharmacology

    PO Box 208066, 333 Cedar Street

    New Haven, CT 06520-8066

    United States

Research Summary

The primary emphasis focuses on developing an understanding of enzymatic reactions and receptor-ligand interactions at a molecular level. The approach is to use a combination of structural techniques including rapid transient kinetics, NMR, and xRay crystallography. This allows a quantitative and structural basis for understanding how proteins work at a molecular level.

Our ultimate goal in this research is to develop an in-depth mechanistic understanding of how enzymes function and thereby provide a more effective means of modulating their function. This approach has been used to examine a number of enzyme mechanisms including EPSP synthase, tryptophan synthase, PABA synthase, LAR-tyrosine phosphatase, and HIV reverse transcriptase. We have recently uncovered some interesting mechanistic features of HIV reverse transcriptase which may ultimately aid in the design of better therapeutic agents for the treatment of AIDS.

Specialized Terms: Enzyme function; Anti-viral agents

Extensive Research Description

Our research is directed toward understanding molecular mechanism of clinically important antimicrobial, anticancer, and antiviral molecular targets with the ultimate goal of developing more effective therapies. Key enzyme targets for the development of therapeutics include: KDO8P synthase (an important target for new antibacterials) and a bifunctional thymidylate synthase-dihydrofolate reductase (TS-DHFR) enzyme from parasites (a target for new antiparasitic drugs).

Also ongoing are studies to understanding the molecular mechanisms of normal and aberrant protein signaling and the effects of selectively guided anticancer drugs such as Iressa and Gleevec. Important molecular targets include EGFR, HER-2, PDGFRb, and c-kit receptor tyrosine kinases. Another area of focus involves investigating the mechanisms of HIV reverse transcriptase as well as drug resistance and toxicity that may ultimately aid in the design of better therapeutic agents for the treatment of AIDS.


Research Interests

Molecular Biology; Pharmacology; Anti-Retroviral Agents; HIV Reverse Transcriptase; Multifunctional Enzymes

Selected Publications