Oliver Thorn-Seshold, Ph.D. (Hasserodt / ENS Lyon)

Oliver Thorn-Seshold, Ph.D. (Hasserodt / ENS Lyon)


Room: K03.003, BioSysM, Telephone: +49 89 2180-71009 / +49 89 2180-71081

Oliver Thorn-Seshold

I joined the Trauner group as a postdoc in 2013. My research interest is to develop new smart-targeting strategies, that can used with small molecule drugs, to treat difficult diseases (cancer, malaria) and address unsolved problems in fundamental biology research.

PhotoCan: Since 2012 I have been working on the PhotoCan project, to develop photopharmaceuticals (reversibly light-switched drugs) that can be switched between an inactive form and a powerful antimitotic, vascular disrupting agent. The aim is to create light-restricted chemotherapeutics for more powerful cancer therapy without systemic side-effects: apply the inactive drug globally, activate it locally in the tumour. The Photostatins we made can also be combined orthogonally and modularly with existing strategies (enzymatic unmasking, ADC, etc), allowing other independent checkpoints for drug selectivity. We published the first generation of Photostatins in Cell. I am currently developing subsequent generations of Photostatins with orthogonal functionalities.

In general I aim to work on far-reaching projects that are 'high risk' in the novelty of the approach rather than in their synthetic ambitions. I think that the chemical tools we have available for biology and medicine are usually strong enough to achieve what's needed, but simply not well-targeted enough to avoid indiscriminately hammering whole cells/systems/organisms. Therefore I am particularly interested in developing new targeting mechanisms that can be applied to old drugs, to solve the selectivity problem. As well as photopharmacology projects with light-defined spatiotemporal targeting, I am working on: (2) new pharmacophores for old chemotherapeutic targets; (3) exploiting the redox biology of cancer with new targeting mechanisms; (4) using small molecules to guide large molecule/nanoparticle delivery; and (5) dual-targeting and dual-mechanism drugs.

(CV 2015)