23 June 2022

Professor Bente Frølund receives a Novo Nerd 2022 grant

Pharma Research

Bente Frølund has recently received 8.5 mill DKK from the Novo Nordisk Foundation to the project “Proximity-inducing new downstream chemistries - A platform for re-wiring cell signaling”.

Professor Bente Frølund
Professor Bente Frølund

During the project, the researcher will strive to develop bifunctional small molecules in order to rewire cell-signaling pathways, and create a new way of regulating imbalance in phosphorylation level, a phenomena that is involved in a multitude of diseases, as phosphorylation is key to normal cellular function.

Professor Bente Frølund is also group leader of the Frølund Group under the discipline Medicinal Chemistry at Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology.

Project description for the project “Proximity-inducing new downstream chemistries – A platform for re-wiring cell signaling”:

Kinases and phosphatases regulate, in concert, phosphorylation levels by adding or removing, a phosphate group from biomolecules. Phosphorylation is key to normal cellular function and, subsequently, imbalance in phosphorylation level is involved in a multitude of diseases. However, efficient chemical tools for rescuing are lacking. This project aims to develop bifunctional small molecules enabling proximity for a dysregulated protein and an effector enzyme rescuing the dysregulated phosphorylated state. We will use a central brain kinase, as the effector enzyme. A binder for the kinase will be connected to a binder for a relevant protein to induce phosphorylation/dephosphorylation on-demand, and realize new biology. We hypothesize that such compounds, rewiring cell-signaling pathways, will offer new approaches for next generation therapies that would be impossible using traditional strategies.