February 5, 2018 | News

Ana Pina, a postdoctoral researcher in the Nanoscience Initiative at the Advanced Science Research Center at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

Ana Pina, a postdoctoral researcher in the Nanoscience Initiative at the Advanced Science Research Center at the Graduate Center, CUNY, has received a competitive two-year research fellowship from the Portuguese Foundation of Science and Technology to support her participation in joint research project with Faculty of Sciences and Technology at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa to create supramolecular enzyme-like functional peptides, which could lead to new ways of treating cancer.

Enzymes, as biochemical catalysts, play crucial roles in both sustaining life and promoting disease. Pina and other researchers involved in the fellowship are working to create synthetic structures that function like tumor suppressor enzymes.

The absence and/or inactivation of tumor suppressor phosphatases can lead to the development of several types of cancers, and peptide mimics may be developed to interfere with these processes.

The resulting enzyme mimetic structures represent a promising approach for the nanomedicine and biomaterials fields because they could provide both therapy and drug delivery simultaneously. Pina, a member of the Rein V. Ulijn Lab at the ASRC, said the ASRC and the fellowship will give her a valuable opportunity to develop cutting-edge science in the field of peptide nanotechnology.

“Working with Professor Ulijn is exciting because he is at the forefront of peptide nanotechnology research and because all of the facilities I need to use are in the same building,” Pina said. “I also appreciate the interdisciplinary environment at the ASRC. Having exposure to top scientists in different fields will help me grow as a researcher.”