Student Highlight: Michael Campbell
During Michael Campbell’s time as the Molecular Computational Core Facility (MCCF) core fellow, he has collaborated on several projects. In the process, Mr. Campbell has learned a variety of computational techniques that are used to investigate small molecules, macromolecules, and model the interactions between them. One such collaboration with Dr. Richard Bridges focused on the cystine/glutamate antiporter. Since a crystal structure of the human cystine/glutamate antiporter does not exist, a homology model was needed to enable docking studies with small molecules. As a result, four homology models representing different stages in the dynamic movement of the antiporter’s transport mechanism were made. These were created using the sequence of the human antiporter, the crystal structures of several bacterial homologues, and their respective alignments found in the literature. A group of small molecules including endogenous ligands and known inhibitors (both competitive and non-competitive) were docked in each of the homology models and visualized to develop a better understanding of the structure-activity relationship shown in Dr. Bridges research. Most recently, Mr. Campbell is collaborating with Dr. Philippe Diaz and docking a series of compounds into homology models of the metabolic enzyme Cyp26A1 and Cyp26B1.
Mr. Campbell has plans to complete his degree in Medicinal Chemistry in the next couple of years. In his free time, you can find him outdoors playing soccer, camping, and rafting.