bio sketch column
Tim Willson's research focus has been the development of chemical probes and their distribution to the global research community to enable the study the biological function of proteins. His laboratory initially identified chemical probes for the orphan nuclear receptors PPARγ, PPARδ, FXR, LXR, CAR and PXR, leading to the discovery of their roles in human liver and metabolic diseases. He subsequently formed a public-private consortium (coordinated by the SGC) to develop small-molecule inhibitors of enzyme modifiers and protein readers of histone tails. The consortium partners synthesized and released over 30 chemical probes for lysine demethylases, lysine methyltransferases, bromodomain and methyl reader proteins that have been used to study their role in epigenetic regulation of human disease. Tim is currently at the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy where his laboratory is now dedicated to discovering and sharing selective, small-molecule inhibitors of protein and lipid kinases. Operating as the first US site of the SGC, the SGC UNC will synthesize and distribute chemical probes for kinases and create a scientific hub for kinase research. The knowledge generated by the laboratory will allow drug researchers to select the right kinase for the right disease and help speed the creation of new medicines for patients.