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Professors receive $350,000 National Science Foundation grant



Sanku Mallik, professor of pharmaceutical sciences, and D. K. Srivastava, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, have been awarded a three-year, $350,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

In a project within the Division of Materials Research, the professors will develop and conduct mechanistic studies on detection of extracellular enzymes with signal amplification. Catalytically active forms of matrix metalloproteinases and the disintegrin class of metalloproteinases hydrolyze triple helical peptides and contribute to the tumor growth, invasion and metastasis. The total concentrations of these enzymes are detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Mallik and Srivastava will develop a complementary strategy to determine the catalytically active forms of the enzymes employing suitably formulated liposomes. They will prepare the lipid vesicles, which will “recognize” the active metastasis-causing enzymes and release another enzyme from the interior of the vesicles. This will generate and amplify the signal as a function of time. Mallik and Srivastava said they expect the method to be very selective and sensitive for the target enzymes.

The research is supported by the National Science Foundation through grant FAR0020520.

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