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Synthesis of Kinase Inhibitors - Melanie Rodriguez Profile

Melanie Rodriguez, Ph.D.


Mentor: Uttam Tambar, Ph.D.
City Born In: Jacksonville, FL.
City Grew Up In: Puerto Rico

Melanie Rodriguez, Ph.D.
How did you become interested in science and/or research specifically?

I have been interested/ working in research since my junior year in undergrad and my interest stemmed from curiosity. I had seen novel drugs being developed for illnesses, however I was curious as to their design, how were they made? What is the process to study its target? How do they determine a drug's mechanism of action?

Tell us about your research project and its relevance to human health.

As a Medicinal Chemist, I have been focused for the past year in the synthesis of kinase inhibitors. Kinases are a family of enzymes associated with nearly all human functions and numerous illnesses including cancer. Using a structure-based design, we have designed and developed multiple inhibitors for a specific kinase with the goal of identifying unconventional ligand-protein binding interactions and to uncover potent inhibitors that could further evolve into potential novel drugs.

Have you received any awards or fellowships during your scientific career, including high school, undergraduate, and graduate school?

The PROVIDES Program was awarded at the beginning of my Postdoctoral training (January 2021); Kirschstein National Service Award (T32-Fellow in Cancer Biology Program)

Why did you choose to come to UT Southwestern for graduate school?

I was considering schools within the DFW area and UTSW and its cutting-edge research was at the top of my list.

What do you appreciate about your training here or why should a prospective postdoc choose to do their postdoc training here?

I think the mentorship is what I appreciate the most of my Postdoctoral training. I was fortunate to join the lab of an incredible scientist and I have seen my growth as a scientist exponentially increase during this past year. The accessibility to resources is another to reason why UTSW has such success with Postdoctoral Mentoring. Having the commodity of designing, synthesizing, elucidating the structure and testing your compounds all in one institution is a luxury that not all institutions and programs have.

– Melanie Rodriguez, Ph.D., PROVIDES Program

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