Thesis Projects

Integrating recombinant protein production, biophysical characterization of protein interactions, small molecule inhibitor design and synthesis, and/or multivariate statistical analysis of relevant data, depending on student interests.

Protein kinases are the single most important class of modern drug targets (Rask-Anderson et al., Annu. Rev. Pharmacol. Toxicol. 54, 2014; 9-26). They are also fascinating enzymes, dynamically controlling cellular processes via phosphate transfer from ATP to proteins. The human genome encodes for over 500 protein kinases, and the wealth of data generated by modern structural, biophysical, and drug discovery research creates a need for cheminformatics and machine learning techniques for systematic study. UiT Masters students who are interested in protein kinase structural biology projects are encouraged to contact Prof. Richard Engh or Dr. Ulli Rothweiler to put together a project proposal to meet the specific technology interests of the student.

General information about the Master's program at the University of Tromsø can be found here

Recommended thesis project areas (all have well established protocols and expertise for rapid progress)

DYRK kinases (Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers; cancer; diabetes)  
1) Studies of DYRK1A vs DYRK1B selectivity
2) "Polypharmacological" design of inhibitors to co-target DYRK1A and other key kinases in neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimer's Disease)
3) Studies on redox control of DYRK kinase activity
4) DYRK2 and other isoforms of DYRKs

cKIT inhibitors (various cancers; cardiovascular diseases)
1) Studies on covalent approaches to cKIT/BTK inhibition

Protein kinase conformational dynamics
1) Biophysical characterization of mutant protein kinases to study key dynamic mechanisms of allostery and ligand binding
2) Computational studies of glycine-rich-loop conformational dynamics

Past MS theses

Marina Alexeeva

Bjarte Lund

Past PhD theses

Dr. Taiana Oliveira

Dr. Alexander Pflug

Dr. Dilip Narayanan

Dr. Kazi Asraful Alam

Dr. Balmukund Thakkar

Biophysical characterization of the DYRK family Studies on the kinases DYRK1A and DYRK1B

Biotech applications of protein kinase affinity interactions

Inhibitor selectivity determinants for the Aurora protein kinases

Protein kinase selectivity mechanisms and structure assisted drug discovery

Structural determinants of ligand binding to ATP dependent enzymes: Studies of Protein Kinase and Heat Shock Protein

Studies on selectivity determinants of protein kinase inhibitor binding 

A Biofocussed Chemoprospecting Approach to Drug Discovery: Design, Synthesis and Bioactivity Screening of Diverse Biofocussed Chemical Libraries

DYRK kinase crystallization

Diffraction images