Dr. Nir London is a senior scientist (Assistant Prof.) at the Dept. of Organic Chemistry at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Dr. London opened his multidisciplinary lab focused around covalent chemical biology in 2015 and has since assembled a team of 11 students and post-docs from around the world, all motivated to understand covalent molecular recognition and to apply this understanding for the design of chemical probes for studying and treating cancer.
Molecules that form covalent bonds with their target proteins have several advantages over their non-covalent counterparts, both as chemical tool compounds as well as for therapeutic leads. However, they are challenging to design and develop. The London lab developed computational and empirical screening techniques that enable the discovery of such covalent compounds. A typical project begins in the computer, with modeling and covalent virtual screening, then, progresses to the chemical synthesis hood. From there, the newly made compound will be tested in an array of biophysical and biochemical methods to show protein binding and cellular engagement. Ultimately resulting in selective probes that allow to explore the biology of various targets in the cell. This wide array of techniques crosses many disciplines and students in the lab learn to disregard traditional binning as ‘biologist’ or ‘chemist’.
Dr. London won several awards including a career development award from the AACR-BCRF, and from the Israel Cancer Research Foundation. An outstanding research award from the Israel Cancer Association, and the Alon Fellowship for outstanding young researchers. Competitive grants funding research in the London Lab include the Israel Science Foundation, Rising Tide Foundation, Fritz Thyssen Foundation, German-Israeli Foundation, Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology, Abisch-Frenkel foundation and Teva Pharmaceuticals. Dr. London is the incumbent of the Alan and Laraine Fischer Career Development Chair.