Reza Dastvan, PhD

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Saint Louis University (SLU)

Conformational dynamics studies to understand the mechanistic principles of membrane transport and kinase release in neoplastic and neurodegenerative diseases: Our research focuses on the molecular understanding of the cellular release mechanism of the brain-type creatine kinase and sphingosine kinase isoforms 1 and 2 as key therapeutic targets in a wide variety of neoplastic, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative diseases. Taking a concerted approach combining Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) restraint-assisted modeling with structural studies, the conformational rearrangements triggering the extracellular release of the creatine kinase and sphingosine kinase isoforms will be defined. A second project will investigate the structural dynamics of membrane transporters associated with the survival of metastatic cells. In particular, we will study the transport mechanism of the sphingolipid transporter Spns2, which has been implicated in the export of sphingosine-1-phosphate, a bioactive lipid that has an important role in regulating the growth, survival, and migration of mammalian cells.