Gonzales earns grant to build more effective medications, reduce side effects

Eric Gonzales, PhD, GSBS ’05, assistant professor of pharmacology, was recently awarded a Robert A. Welch Foundation Grant. These grants are primarily given to researchers focused on advancing chemistry and improving life.

Gonzales and members of his lab team will study protein crystallography, which, through x-ray defraction, can determine the atomic structure of proteins. The process includes shooting x-rays through a crystal made of protein, resulting in a three-dimensional structure.

The goal is to use protein crystallography to reveal the three-dimensional shape of the target protein, so that drugs can be designed to target only these proteins, thus minimizing adverse side effects.

After one year, Gonzales hopes to have identified one target protein and started the crystal x-ray defraction studies. His long-term goal is for this study to provide a foundation to submit National Institutes of Health (NIH) and American Heart Association (AHA) grants in the future. The Welch Grant, beginning June 1, is for $100,000 over two years, and Gonzales will serve as the principle investigator.

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