Avner Schlessinger, PhD
- ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR | Pharmacological Sciences
Research Topics:Cancer, Computational Biology, Drug Design and Discovery, Membrane Proteins/Channels, Protein Structure/Function, Transporters
Dr. Avner Schlessinger is an Associate Professor of Pharmacological Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, an Associate Director of Mt. Sinai Center for Therapeutics Discovery, and Co-Director of the Pharmacology, Discovery and Therapeutics Training Area. Dr. Schlessinger graduated from Tel Aviv University with a BSc in Biology and Chemistry, and completed his PhD from Columbia University in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. As a PhD student, he developed programs predicting protein structure and function using various machine-learning approaches such as artificial neural networks. Following his graduate studies, Dr. Schlessinger was an NIH NRSA postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences at UCSF, where he established methods for computer-aided drug design and used these approaches to rationally design tool compounds for membrane proteins. The overall goal of Dr. Schlessinger’s lab is to improve and automate the drug discovery process by integrating approaches in computational chemistry and bioinformatics, and applying these methods to characterize disease pathways. His lab publishes in the areas of chemical biology, bioinformatics, and drug discovery, as well as in personalized medicine and pharmacogenomics. Dr. Schlessinger serves on the Editorial Boards of PLOS Computational Biology and Journal of General Physiology, as well as on the Advisory Board of various biotechnology companies and international consortia.
Multi-Disciplinary Training AreasArtificial Intelligence and Emerging Technologies in Medicine [AIET], Cancer Biology [CAB], Pharmacology and Therapeutics Discovery [PTD]
BSc, Tel Aviv University
PhD, Columbia University
Postdoctoral Training, University of California, San Francisco
Our lab focuses on the development and application of computational tools to annotate the functions of proteins. The two major research areas of our group include:
1. Structure-based drug design for membrane transporters. Our group characterizes cancer-related membrane transporter proteins, using a structure-based discovery approach, including homology modeling and virtual ligand screening, in collaboration with experimental labs. We rationally design novel chemical tools to study transporters’ role in cancer metabolism pathways, with a long-term goal of developing drugs against these potential cancer drug targets.
2. Structural bioinformatics. The lab works on developing and applying sequence-based and structure-based methods to predict different features of proteins using various machine-learning techniques. We analyze the predicted features of proteins in the context of networks and proteomes, to characterize protein functions.