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Director, Macromolecular Sciences and Director, Center for Cancer
Kathlynn Brown, obtained her Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin, during which time she received fellowships from the Mahler Memorial Foundation and the Organic Division of the American Chemical Society. She continued her training at the University of California at San Francisco, where she was a Damon Runyon Walter Winchell Postdoctoral Fellow.
Brown began her independent career at UT Southwestern Medical Center and moved to SRI International to expand her translational research. She has utilized her multidisciplinary expertise in organic chemistry, peptide chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology to address challenges in biomedical research.
Her laboratory was among the first to adopt cell-based biopanning of phage-displayed peptide libraries. Using this approach, she has developed a suite of high-affinity peptides that target a variety of different cell types. Brown has co-authored numerous peer-reviewed papers, three reviews, and one book chapter in this area.
Brown's research team is developing peptides that target tumors for use as delivery vehicles for drugs, nanoparticles, and toxins. They are also utilizing the peptides to develop novel immunotherapies to fight cancer. Additionally, the peptides are being utilized as molecular imaging agents for diagnosis and classification of cancers.
The Brown Laboratory focuses on probing protein-protein and protein-peptide interactions and developing methods to manipulate these macromolecular complexes. In particular, the laboratory is interested in interactions that occur at the cell surface and how these interactions dictate underlying biology of the cell. The surface of a cell represents a collection of macromolecules, which provides cells with a unique cellular landscape specific to the type and state of the cell. Ligands that discriminate between subtle differences in cell surface phenotypes have utility in a wide variety of research and clinical applications. In particular, cell binding ligands that can deliver biologically active “cargo" to a specific cell type or a diseased cell are highly sought.
Toward the goal of isolating cell targeting ligands, the Brown Laboratory utilizes phage display panning protocols to identify peptides that mediate binding and uptake into cells. The laboratory has identified cell-targeting peptides for more than 40 different cell types, and is expanding this number.