CNSI Noble Fund researchers work to accelerate understanding of human cell interactions

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In a new video, Professor Keriann Backus explains her Nobel Fund project aiming to develop a new method for mapping the protein interactions that are fundamental to almost every process in living things.

The new photoaffinity chemistry developed by Backus’s team could accelerate our understanding of the millions of interactions that are regulated by proteins in human cells, including interactions with drug molecules.

Backus is one of six Chemistry & Biochemistry faculty members selected to receive CNSI Noble Family Innovation Fund grants for their nanoscience research projects. The Noble Family Innovation Fund, established with a $10 million philanthropic commitment to the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA, supports basic and translational research involving interactions on the nanoscale – measured in billionths of a meter. Funding is earmarked for projects with substantial promise for commercialization and societal impact. The goal is to create a model for academic research and entrepreneurship that enables strategic investment to seed discoveries that have the potential to be translated for the public good.

Professor Keriann Backus joined the UCLA faculty in 2018 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. She was selected for UCLA’s Alexander and Renee Kolin Endowed Professorship of Molecular Biology and Biophysics in February 2020.

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry,