Brian F. Volkman, PhD
Director, Program in Chemical Biology; Professor, Biochemistry
BS, Butler University, 1989
Dr. Volkman obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Physics from Butler University in 1989 and his Doctorate degree from The University of California at Berkeley. The latter was awarded in 1994 for structural studies on proteins involved in bacterial gene regulation using NMR spectroscopy. Dr. Volkman's postdoctoral training was in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2000, Dr. Volkman started at the Medical College of Wisconsin where he is Professor in the Biochemistry Department. Dr. Volkman's work focuses on the structural biology of immunological signaling molecules and the use of NMR spectroscopy in structural proteomics.
Our goal is to invent new ways to treat cancer and other ailments by examining the three-dimensional architecture of proteins involved in disease and synthesizing new drug candidate molecules. This research links the expertise of chemists, structural biologists, and clinician-scientists who collaborate in the design and testing of potential therapies. Graduate students in my group have invented and patented new compounds that show promise as treatments for cancer and psoriasis. Your donation helps us accelerate the drug development process by paying for preclinical studies that most research grants simply won’t support - bridging the gap between our basic science discoveries and clinical trials.
We use NMR spectroscopy and many other techniques to (1) understand the transmission of biological signals in terms of molecular structure, recognition and dynamics and (2) exploit this knowledge for the design and discovery of new molecules with practical utility as research tools, bioactive nanomaterials, or new drugs.
Dynamics and folding. Protein function is exquisitely dependent on compactly folded structures that combine energetic stability with intrinsic flexibility. Our work has revealed surprising new examples of conformational variability and altered the established paradigm for protein folding to include the new category of ‘metamorphic’ proteins. We are now trying to define the thermodynamic and evolutionary origins of metamorphic folding using the divergence of human lymphotactin from the rest of the chemokine family as a prototypical example. Other projects analyze novel modes of conformational switching that control cell polarity and enzyme activity.
Molecular recognition. Biological signals are often controlled by promoting or disrupting the interaction between two proteins. Many chemokines have been directly implicated in human diseases. Compounds that block chemokine signaling might function as inhibitors of inflammation, cancer progression, viral infection or autoimmune disease. We recently used NMR to solve the structure of the first chemokine-receptor complex, and subsequently used the details of this interface to search for small molecule ligands that bind the chemokine and block its activity. A hybrid in silico/NMR approach to inhibitor screening is now being used to target multiple chemokines with the ultimate goal of drug discovery to treat metastatic cancer and psoriasis.
Back Row L. to R.: Chris Veldkamp, Francis Peterson, Rob Tyler, Anthony Getschman (hands), Austin Jiang,
Alex Chadwick, Davin Jensen, Dustin Whitney and Josh Weiner
Middle Row L. to R.: Chad Koplinski, Amanda Nevins
First Row L. to R.: Dr. Brian Volkman, Echo the dog, Jamie Wieting, Becky Holme
(Powers HR, Jenjak SE, Volkman BF, Sahoo D.) J Biol Chem. 2023 Aug 23;299(10):105187 PMID: 37625590 PMCID: PMC10509710 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85171377774 08/26/2023
(Praetorius F, Leung PJY, Tessmer MH, Broerman A, Demakis C, Dishman AF, Pillai A, Idris A, Juergens D, Dauparas J, Li X, Levine PM, Lamb M, Ballard RK, Gerben SR, Nguyen H, Kang A, Sankaran B, Bera AK, Volkman BF, Nivala J, Stoll S, Baker D.) Science. 2023 Aug 18;381(6659):754-760 PMID: 37590357 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85168284894 08/17/2023
(Dishman AF, Volkman BF.) Trends Biochem Sci. 2023 Aug;48(8):665-672 PMID: 37270322 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85160689793 06/04/2023
(Zhou AL, Jensen DR, Peterson FC, Thomas MA, Schlimgen RR, Dwinell MB, Smith BC, Volkman BF.) SLAS Discov. 2023 Jun;28(4):163-169 PMID: 36841432 PMCID: PMC10339762 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85149845436 02/26/2023
(Ratnasinghe BD, Haque N, Wagenknecht JB, Jensen DR, Esparza GV, Leverence EN, De Assuncao TM, Mathison AJ, Lomberk G, Smith BC, Volkman BF, Urrutia R, Zimmermann MT.) bioRxiv. 2023 Apr 28 PMID: 37207265 PMCID: PMC10189839 05/19/2023
(Wu X, Clarke WR, Koplinski CA, Peterson FC, Dwinell MB, Wei G, Chao E, Huynh M, Yamada D, Volkman BF, Hwang ST.) J Immunol Methods. 2023 Apr;515:113453 PMID: 36863695 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85150034077 03/03/2023
(Haver HN, Wedemeyer M, Butcher E, Peterson FC, Volkman BF, Scaglione KM.) ACS Chem Biol. 2023 Mar 17;18(3):549-560 PMID: 36791332 PMCID: PMC10023506 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85148304370 02/16/2023
(Kim DE, Jensen DR, Feldman D, Tischer D, Saleem A, Chow CM, Li X, Carter L, Milles L, Nguyen H, Kang A, Bera AK, Peterson FC, Volkman BF, Ovchinnikov S, Baker D.) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Mar 14;120(11):e2207974120 PMID: 36897987 PMCID: PMC10089152 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85150007162 03/11/2023
(Elmansi AM, Eisa NH, Periyasamy-Thandavan S, Kondrikova G, Kondrikov D, Calkins MM, Aguilar-Pérez A, Chen J, Johnson M, Shi XM, Reitman C, McGee-Lawrence ME, Crawford KS, Dwinell MB, Volkman BF, Blumer JB, Luttrell LM, McCorvy JD, Hill WD.) ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci. 2023 Jan 13;6(1):22-39 PMID: 36659961 PMCID: PMC9844133 01/21/2023
(Shi ZR, Mabuchi T, Riutta SJ, Wu X, Peterson FC, Volkman BF, Hwang ST.) Journal of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis. July 2023;8(3):107-117 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85150743226 07/01/2023
(Crawford KS, Volkman BF.) Front Immunol. 2023;14:1111960 PMID: 37006247 PMCID: PMC10050359 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85151083879 04/04/2023
(Elmansi AM, Eisa NH, Periyasamy-Thandavan S, Kondrikova G, Kondrikov D, Calkins MM, Aguilar-Pérez A, Chen J, Johnson M, Shi XM, Reitman C, McGee-Lawrence ME, Crawford KS, Dwinell MB, Volkman BF, Blumer JB, Luttrell LM, McCorvy JD, Hill WD.) ACS Pharmacology and Translational Science. 13 January 2023;6(1):22-39 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85143982229 01/13/2023