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Justin Donnelly

Justin Donnelly

Justin Donnelly

About

Galectin-1 is a glycan-binding protein and a long-sought cancer therapy target that regulates tissue biology and the immune system. Given that changes in the localization of galectin-1 often accompany this regulation, my research combines approaches in chemistry, protein engineering, and functional genomics to study the mechanism by which galectin-1 traffics between intra- and extracellular spaces. Using a CRISPR-based screen, I will identify genes that regulate galectin-1’s ability to translocate across the cell membrane. To accomplish this, I am developing a novel to screen on the basis of intracellular protein accumulation using synthetic chemistry and protein conjugation. Based on these screening data, I plan to explore a number of potential applications for this phenomenon. Approaches to specifically alter galectin-1 localization, for example, could be developed for cancer immune or anti-metastatic therapy. Additionally, I am investigating whether this process can be hijacked to deliver membrane-impermeable therapeutic molecules to the cell interior.