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Researcher to Investigate Mechanics of Drug Metabolism

Feb. 3, 2014

The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) has received a four-year, $1.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences to study the way in which the human body metabolizes drugs, and the causes behind abnormal steroid hormone production.

Jung-Ja Kim, PhD, professor of biochemistry, is the primary investigator of the grant.

The cytochrome P450 family is a large group of enzymes involved in drug metabolism and steroid hormone synthesis. While much is known about the mechanism and structure of P450s, little is known about their interaction with cytochrome P450 reductase (CYPOR), the other protein responsible for these metabolic processes. Additionally, mutations of the gene responsible for producing CYPOR lead to decreased steroid production, which can cause a range of disorders, including death in utero.

In this project, Dr. Kim will seek to understand the mechanisms of interaction between P450s and CYPOR. Understanding how the body processes drugs at a molecular level will lead to development of better drugs. Furthermore, the findings will be used to design therapeutics for patients suffering from a malfunctioning of steroid hormone synthesis.

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"Hidden Tosa" is a semi-regular feature where reporters Rory Linnane or Rachel Minske explore the closed down and closed off parts of Wauwatosa.

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