5. Nov. 2021
Lukas Trantirek from CEITEC Masaryk University received the Rudolf Lukes Award 2021 for the development of technology that makes it possible to study the atomic structure of biomolecules and their interactions directly inside living cells. The Rudolf Lukes Prize is awarded annually by the Czech Chemical Society in cooperation with the Experientia Foundation. The award-winning scientist is developing in-cell NMR (intracellular nuclear magnetic resonance) technology, which is nowadays the only available method that enables the study of the structure of biomolecules and their interactions directly inside living cells. In other words, this method allows researchers to assess the effect of the intracellular environment on the chemical structure and reactivity of organic substances.
Thanks to this technology, we can then properly direct or streamline drug development,” explains Lukas Trantirek of the importance of his technology for medicinal chemistry. A significant part of organic chemistry is devoted to the discovery and preparation of biologically active compounds with therapeutic effect – such as drugs. "Although we already know the mechanisms behind the formation of many human diseases and the appropriate target molecules, we are sometimes still unable to develop suitable drugs," says Lukas. "One of the factors hindering drug development is the lack of atomically differentiated information about drug interactions with biomolecules directly in the intracellular space, where the chemical reactivity of organic substances is affected by a number of physicochemical factors," explains the award-winning scientist.
The in-cell NMR technology, developed by the team of Lukas Trantirek, enables such a study of atomic interactions between biomolecules and drugs within living cells. "The data from in-cell NMR allows us to assess the specificity of a drug for a given molecular target or to determine the extent to which a drug acts on a target molecule. All this information is extremely important for guiding the process of rational drug development,” says the recent winner of the Rudolf Lukes Award. "However, I see the main benefit of our technology is that it allows the study of the laws that govern the reactivity of organic molecules in the intracellular space," the scientist concludes.
About Lukas Trantirek
Lukas Trantirek received a doctorate degree in organic chemistry from Masaryk University in Brno, then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California in Los Angeles and Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria. From 2009 to 2015, he worked as a visiting associate professor at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Currently he leads his own research group at CEITEC Masaryk University and studies the non-coding genome. Trantirek received the Rudolf Lukes Award in 2021 for an excellent collection of original works in the field of organic chemistry published in prestigious international journals in the last 5 years.