As the Allard Research Chair in Oncology, Jack Tuszynski is the head of an interdisciplinary team that is focused on building "designer drugs" able to kill tumors and eventually lead to improved cancer cures. Through his work in computational biophysics Jack is attempting to create the perfect drugs that would target cancerous cells while reducing side effects to the healthy cells. In collaboration with researchers from Texas Jack has already developed a new generation of chemotherapy drugs that are derivatives of colchicine, the new class of these drugs preferentially affects cancerous cells. To achieve success in this new, but promising field of biological modeling, he drawsupon his physics background to create computer software that scans molecular targets against all available drug entities to find the perfect match. Jack works in a cancer clinic environment with the sole objective of offering hope to patients who are otherwise out of luck. Jack is also a full time Professor at the University of Alberta and on the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Physics, Journal of Biophysics and Structural Biology (JBSB), Quantum Biosystems, Research Letters in Physics, Water: a Multidisciplinary Research Journal and Interdisciplinary Sciences-Computational Life Sciences. He is an Associate Editor of The Frontiers Collection, Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg.
Our ultimate objective is to provide an integrated view of the molecular phenomena taking place at the level of brain microtubules in a bottom-up scheme, demonstrating that subtle physical interactions impact neuronal functions including the computational and memory storage capabilities of the brain. As consequences of the model proposed we discuss how information processing takes place inside a neuron, how memory can be encoded and erased within the cytoskeleton and show how molecular dynamics simulations reveal the action of anesthetics. Direct connections will be presented to neurological disorders, especially Alzheimer’s disease. The talk will end with a proposal for specific drug design strategy.
This work has been done in collaboration with T. Craddock (Univ. of Alberta), S.R. Hameroff (Univ. of Arizona), N. Woolf (UCLA), R. Tanzi (Harvard Univ.) and A. Priel (Israel Inst. of Advanced Studies). This research was supported by NSERC (Canada)