ASSISTANT PROFESSOR in CHEMICAL BIOLOGY & GROUP LEADER
Please note that the Zinzalla research group have been re-locating to SciLifeLab.
Visiting address: SciLIfeLab, Karolinska Institutet, Giovanna Zinzalla Group, Tomtebodavägen 23, 17165 Stockholm, Sweden
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Organic and Medicinal Chemistry, Biochemistry, Structural Biology, Biochemical and Biophysical Assays, Structure-Based Molecular Design, Protein-Protein Interactions, Drug Discovery, Cancer Research.
For the up-to-date publication list (i.e., including Early View articles) click on the ResearchGate link below under Links, or paste in your internet browser: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Giovanna_Zinzalla
Dr Zinzalla obtained her first class honours Laurea in Chemistry (equivalent to MChem) from the University of Milan and carried out her PhD studies with Prof. Stefano Maiorana and Dr Clara Baldoli also at the University of Milan. Her research focused on developing new metal complex conjugates of Peptide Nucleic Acids (PNAs) as biosensors, and she investigated novel traceless linkers for solid-phase synthesis of drug-like small molecules in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline.
In 2004 she was awarded a Marie Curie EIF Individual Research Fellowship and appointed as Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the University of Cambridge with Professor Steven Ley, where she initiated a project focused on exploring the role of molecular diversity for drug discovery, with the design of natural product-like compounds as novel therapeutic agents.
In June 2006 she joined the School of Pharmacy, University College London (UCL) (London, UK) as a Senior Research Fellow funded by Cancer Research UK (CR UK), within the CR UK Protein-Protein Interactions Drug Discovery Research Group. As co-PI of a CR UK Small Molecule Drug Discovery Initiative Programme (Director: Prof. Fevid E. Thurston) she led research projects aimed at discovering PPI inhibitors of transcriptional factors such as Hypoxia Inducible Factor 1 (HIF-1) and Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 (STAT3).
In January 2012 she took up the faculty position at Karolinska Institutet as independent PI: Assistant Professor in Chemical Biology at MTC and a junior group leader at the Centre for Advanced Cancer Therapies (ACT).
DISSECTING and MANIPULATING TRANSCRIPTION FACTOR NETWORKS
The Zinzalla research group focuses on dissecting how protein-protein interactions regulate the transcription factors that control cell growth and differentiation. Our ultimate goal is to help unravel the complex networks that regulate transcription and use this knowledge for therapeutic intervention in fields such as cancer, stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. To this end our research encompasses biochemistry, biophysics and structural biology to characterise these interactions, as well as chemical approaches to develop chemical probes that target them.
Currently we are primarily working on the c-MYC transcription factor, which can be considered to be one of the master regulators of cell growth, proliferation and differentiation as it governs numerous cellular processes including cell survival, apoptosis and metabolism. Deregulated MYC expression is the driving force of many cancers and it is an established target for anti-cancer therapies. MYC, like many TFs, is an intrinsically disordered protein and working on this system also allows us to address more general questions on how intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) exert their functions and how they can be targeted with small molecule, which have wider implications in many areas of biology.
RESEARCH COLLABORATIONS (in alphabetical order)
Dr Mark Bycroft, MRC LMB, Cambridge, UK
Professor Jane Clarke, University of Cambridge, UK
Professor Gerard Evan, University of Cambridge, UK
Professor Lars-Gunnar Larsson, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
Dr. Björn Windshügel, Fraunhofer Institute IME, Germany