The Kodadek laboratory works in the general area of chemical biology with an emphasis on translational research. The laboratory employs a broad spectrum of techniques that span organic chemistry to molecular genetics. Recently, significant effort has been focused on the development of novel strategies to tackle the “undraggable” proteome. We have developed DNA-encoded libraries of non-peptidic macrocycles and other novel molecular species that we believe will be better suitable to engage difficult protein targets than traditional drug candidates. We are also developing novel techniques to screen these libraries for molecules with novel functions, for example the ability to recruit to target proteins post-translational modifying enzymes that alter the levels or activity of the target.
Another focus is to use the chemical tools we have developed to monitor and manipulate the immune system. One goal of these efforts is to discover effective and early diagnostic tests for a variety of disease states, including cancers, autoimmune diseases and neurodegenerative conditions. Another is to identify compounds that act as “antigen surrogates” in that they have the ability to recognize the antigen-binding sites of antibodies and T cell receptors. These compounds are being developed as potential therapeutic agents to block autoimmune responses selectively without interfering with normal functions of the immune system.