Making Molecular Prosthetics with Lego Chemistry
by Martin D. Burke, M.D., Ph.D
May and Ving Lee Professor for Chemical Innovation
Carle Illinois College of Medicine
Innovation Grand Rounds
Friday, December 10, 2021
noon – 1:00 p.m. Presentation by Martin D. Burke
1:00 – 1:30 p.m. Reflection & Dialogue
MSB Auditorium (Room 274), Pollard Auditorium (Carle Forum),
or Virtually at https://go.illinois.edu/innovationgrandrounds
Please register here if you plan to attend in-person at MSB Auditorium or Pollard Auditorium by 4:30 pm on Tuesday, December 7.
Abstract: This talk will describe the development of “molecular prosthetics” – an emerging new class of medicines that mimic the functions of missing proteins that cause disease. It will focus specifically on progress toward molecular prosthetics for treating cystic fibrosis, anemias, and Menkes disease. These advances were enabled by the parallel development of a new lego-like approach for making drug-like molecules that has recently been fully automated. Interfacing this platform with frontier AI methods has the potential to democratize the discovery of tomorrow’s medicines, as well as many other types of molecules and materials that promote human health. A first of its kind Molecule Maker Lab has now been created at the Beckman Institute, which is opening a door for non-specialists to meaningfully engage in the molecular innovation process. Building on all this momentum, the forthcoming launch of a new Democratized Drug Discovery Initiative at UIUC will be disclosed.
Martin D. Burke May and Ving Lee Professor for Chemical Innovation
Marty received a PhD and MD from Harvard and is the May and Ving Lee Professor for Chemical Innovation at UIUC. The Burke group is pioneering the field of “molecular prosthetics”—small molecules that mimic the functions of deficient proteins that underlie a wide range of human diseases, including cystic fibrosis and anemia. This work also yielded a Lego-like platform for automated molecular synthesis that is expanding access to this and many other societally impactful molecular functions, and hundreds of commercially available MIDA boronate building blocks that are used in many different academic and industrial institutions throughout the world. He is also the founder of four biotechnology companies – REVOLUTION Medicines, Ambys Medicines, Sfunga Therapeutics, and cystetic Medicines, and developed a platform called SHIELD for mitigating SARS-CoV-2 transmission via rapid-result COVID-19 saliva tests.