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Keynote Address

Daniel K. Nomura, PhD Heading link

Dr. Daniel K. Nomura stands in front of a chemical fume hood in a chemistry laboratory wearing a light blue button-down shirt, a black blazer, and black glasses. There are chemical structures and reactions drawn on the fume hood sash.

The Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Illinois Chicago is thrilled to be hosting Daniel K. Nomura, Ph.D., to deliver the 61st annual MIKIW keynote lecture.

Dr. Nomura has led a distinguished scientific career in drug discovery. He is a Professor at the University of California, Berkeley in the Departments of Chemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology and Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology, an Investigator at the Innovative Genomics Institute, and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of California, San Francisco. In 2008, he completed his doctoral training in molecular toxicology at Berkeley, supervised by John E. Casida, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Scripps in Chemical Biology, supervised by Benjamin F. Cravatt. As an independent investigator, the Nomura group researches chemoproteomic platforms to develop new disease therapies for “undruggable” proteins. Successes in the lab include the discovery of the Deubiquitinase Targeting Chimera (DUBTAC) platform, which led to the foundation of Vicinitas Therapeutics, for which Dr. Nomura is on the Board of Directors. He is also co-founder of Frontier Medicines, director of the Novartis-Berkeley Translational Chemical Biology Institute, on scientific advisory boards for a multitude of companies and foundations, and in 2023, was recruited as an iPartner of the venture capital firm TCG (The Column Group). Dr. Nomura’s awards and honors include the National Cancer Institute Outstanding Investigator Award, Searle Scholar, Eicosanoid Research Foundation Young Investigator Award, DOD Breakthrough Award, and the Mark Foundation for Cancer Research ASPIRE Award.

Keynote Address: Reimagining Druggability using Chemoproteomic Platforms Heading link

The Nomura Research Group is focused on reimagining druggability using chemoproteomic platforms to develop transformative medicines. One of the greatest challenges that we face in discovering new disease therapies is that most proteins are considered “undruggable,” in that most proteins do not possess known binding pockets or “ligandable hotspots” that small-molecules can bind to modulate protein function. Our research group addresses this challenge by advancing and applying chemoproteomic platforms to discover and pharmacologically target unique and novel ligandable hotspots for disease therapy. We currently have three major research directions. Our first major focus is on developing and applying chemoproteomics-enabled covalent ligand discovery approaches to rapidly discover small-molecule therapeutic leads that target unique and novel ligandable hotspots for undruggable protein targets and pathways. Our second research area focuses on using chemoproteomic platforms to expand the scope of targeted protein degradation technologies. Our third research area focuses on using chemoproteomics-enabled covalent ligand discovery platforms to develop new induced proximity-based therapeutic modalities. Collectively, our lab is focused on developing next-generation transformative medicines through pioneering innovative chemical technologies to overcome challenges in drug discovery.