Free Public Lecture on Cancer Drug Discovery

Kevan M. Shokat will give the Bryan Earl Kohler Distinguished Lecture at UC Riverside on April 1

Kevan M. Shokat is a professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology at UC San Francisco, a professor of chemistry at UC Berkeley and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.Photo credit: UCSF.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Kevan M. Shokat, a renowned investigator in the fields of chemical biology and cancer biology, will give the Bryan Earl Kohler Distinguished Lecture at the University of California, Riverside on Wednesday, April 1.

Titled “Cancer Drug Discovery – Targeting K-Ras,” the hour-long talk will begin at 4:10 p.m. in Bourns Hall A125.  Parking information can be found here.

“One of the ‘holy grails’ of cancer therapy has been developing a small molecule to target the GTPase K-Ras, which is the most frequently mutated oncogene in human cancer,” said Shokat, who is a professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology at UC San Francisco, a professor of chemistry at UC Berkeley and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. “My talk will address this topic and describe the first such direct inhibitor of the oncogene K-Ras(G12C).”

A pioneer in the development of chemical methods for investigating cellular signal transduction pathways, Shokat developed a “chemical genetics” approach to decipher the role of individual kinases and GTPases and their cellular signaling networks. His laboratory creates uniquely traceable and regulatable kinases, allowing the function of more than 100 different kinases to be uncovered across all disease areas including oncology, metabolism, and infectious disease. He has also developed methods to target human kinases to treat diseases such as cancer and immune dysfunction.

He has received numerous awards for his work, including the Eli Lilly Award (American Chemical Society), a Frank H. Westheimer Prize Lectureship (Harvard), a Chemical Science Lectureship (Royal Society of Chemistry), a Leslie Hellerman Lectureship (Johns Hopkins), and has been named a fellow of the Pew Foundation, Searle Foundation, Sloan Foundation, Glaxo-Wellcome Foundation, the Cotrell Foundation, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He currently serves as the associate editor or in the editorial advisory board of several scientific journals. Active in the development and commercialization of inventions made in his laboratory, he is the co-founder or in the scientific research board of a number of biotechnological or pharmaceutical companies.

Shokat received his bachelor’s degree from Reed College in 1986 and his doctorate in chemistry from UC Berkeley in 1991. Following two years of postdoctoral research at Stanford, he joined Princeton as an assistant professor in 1994. He moved to UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley in 1999. He is currently the chair of the UC San Francisco Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology.

The Bryan Earl Kohler Distinguished Lectureship was established in honor of a world renowned physical chemist at UC Riverside.  Bryan Earl Kohler was a professor of chemistry from 1985 until his death at the age of 56, in 1997.  Prior to joining UCR, he was a faculty member at Harvard University and Wesleyan University.

During a 30-year research career, Kohler established world leadership in studies of the interaction of light with linear conjugated polyenes. His laboratory exploited state-of-the-art laser technology and extremely low temperatures to study absorption and emission of light from isolated and cold molecules. Perhaps his most famous research accomplishment was the discovery of a totally unexpected new rule for understanding long-chain organic molecules, namely, that these molecules absorb light in ways that are different from traditional expectations. The finding forced a major change of ideas that affects areas ranging from molecular electronic structure to modeling the photochemistry of biologically active polyenes such as vitamin D.  More about Kohler can be found here.

The annual lectureship named after him is supported by an endowment established by his family and friends.

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