Cochran Lab
Cochran Lab
RESEARCH

RESEARCH OVERVIEW

Engineering Growth Factor Ligand and Receptor Interactions
Our research group has much interest in engineering natural growth factor ligands and receptors as molecular tools for studying the relationship of protein sequence/structure to biological read-outs. These engineered proteins also have important clinical applications as therapeutics for the treatment of a variety of human malignancies. More...

Engineering Proteins that Bind to and Inhibit Multiple Receptors
There is great therapeutic potential for multi-specific proteins that can modulate more than one disease target. Our lab has a strong focus and interest in developing multi-specific proteins for therapeutic applications. As an example of one project, we developed a novel platform for engineering dual-specific protein ligands that can bind to and antagonize two different receptors involved in angiogenesis. We are currently evaluating the promise of these engineered proteins as cancer therapeutics and diagnostics. In addition, we are extending this platform to engineer dual-specific proteins against other important receptor combinations. More...

Engineered KnottinsEngineering Proteins as Molecular Imaging Agents
In vivo molecular imaging enables non-invasive visualization of biological processes within living subjects, and holds great promise for diagnosis and monitoring of disease. The ability to create new agents that bind to molecular targets is critically important to further advance this field (1). Our research group has a strong interest in developing protein- and peptide-based molecular imaging probes that target and illuminate tumors for applications in cancer such as diagnosis, clinical staging and disease management, monitoring disease progression and response to therapy, and surgical guided resection. More...

Engineering Cystine Knot Peptides (Knottins) with Novel Molecular Recognition Properties
Our research group has a strong interest in developing peptide-based alternatives to monoclonal antibodies for tumor-targeting applications. Towards this goal, we engineered cystine knot (knottin) peptides for high affinity molecular recognition against tumor-associated receptors, and established them as a new class of molecular imaging agents in living animals. The knottin family of peptides contains a disulfide-bonded core that confers outstanding proteolytic resistance and thermal stability. Knottins, which naturally function as protease inhibitors, antimicrobials, and toxins, are composed of several loops that possess diverse sequences amongst family members. More...