Supervisor Project : Peptide inhibitors of Ub ligases to treat diabetes and diabetic complications


Partner Lab

Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with unique competencies in chemical and protein engineering, which drive the design of new treatments that address the unmet needs of people living with chronic diseases like diabetes, haemophilia and growth disorders.



Thomas EILAND is Director of Protein and Peptide Chemistry at Novo Nordisk and former professor of organic chemistry and chemical biology at The Technical University of Denmark, and the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is currently also affiliated professor at the Department of Immunology and Microbiology, University of Copenhagen. Scientists at Novo Nordisk are the authors of numerous journal publications and patents in their respective fields of research.

Summary of the Project

The essential proteins that regulate cell metabolism are controlled at the level of protein stability by ubiquitylation, and this regulation can therefore contribute to a wide range of diseases. The overall process of ubiquitylation thus provides attractive targets for drug development. In this project we specifically wish to explore the E3 Ub ligases, which direct substrate proteins to the Ub–proteasome system. These ligases are virtually unexplored as drug targets and fall into two main groups: the HECT domain proteins and RING domain proteins. We will design and synthesize peptide-based inhibitors of these proteins and evaluate their potential as new drugs for the treatment of diabetes and diabetic complications. Integrated microfluidic and bead-based technologies that integrate combinatorial library synthesis and screening represent key technologies to be developed to support the efforts.