Columbia College

Beckman Scholar

Marcel Dupont

MDM2 is an oncoprotein that binds to and promotes the degradation of p53, a tumor suppressor that plays a role in preventing cancer formation. Recently, MDM2 inhibition has gained traction in the search for selective and potent drug candidates for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme, the most common and most aggressive form of glioma in humans. The goal of my project is to design small molecules that both inhibit the MDM2-p53 interaction and penetrate the blood-brain barrier. Potential compounds are identified in a high throughput screen, but to determine whether a compound is genuinely disrupting MDM2, I use the NanoBiT protein:protein interaction system, a live cell assay in which MDM2 and p53 are fused to two subunits that produce a measurable luminescent signal when MDM2 binds p53.