Professor of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Impact of Backbone Modifications on Informational Properties of Polypeptides
This lecture will describe recent progress in development of backbone-modified peptides intended to mimic information-rich surfaces displayed by specific conformations of natural polypeptides. Backbone modification is achieved through replacement of one α-amino acid residue or more with a β-amino acid residue. The β residue can display the natural side chain, or this residue can be preorganized via a ring. The resulting α/β-peptides can inhibit specific proteinprotein interactions, or they can augment signaling through polypeptide-activated receptors. Merits of the α/β-peptides include enhanced resistance to proteolysis and the ability to transmit signals that differ subtly from those of a prototype αpeptide.
Sam Gellman is the Ralph F. Hirschmann Professor of Chemistry and Vilas Research Professor at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He earned his A.B. from Harvard University in 1981 and his Ph.D. from Columbia University, under Ronald Breslow, in 1986. After an NIH post-doctoral fellowship at the California Institute of Technology, with Peter Dervan, Gellman joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 1987. Major interests in Gellman's program involve polypeptides in diverse forms and settings. Specific topics include fundamental studies of non-covalent interactions, elucidation of the origins of peptide and protein folding preferences, development and application of unnatural peptidic oligomers that display protein-like conformational behavior ("foldamers"), creation of new amphiphiles for membrane protein manipulation, and development of biologically active polymers. The work from Gellman’s laboratory has been recognized by the Vincent du Vigneaud Award and Rao Makineni Lectureship from the American Peptide Society, and by the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, the Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry and the Ronald Breslow Award in Biomimetic Chemistry from the American Chemical Society. Gellman is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and a Member of the National Academy of Science.