Stephen Aller, Ph.D.
Assistant ProfessorTo contact Dr. Aller:
1025 18th Street South
Birmingham AL 35294-4400
Telephone: (205) 934-4369
Fax: (203) 934-2659
Aller Lab webpage: http://www.uab.edu/cbse/aller
We are working to decipher the mechanism and function of integral membrane proteins involved in human disease and the means by which drug molecules and antibodies activate and inhibit function. Specifically, small molecular chaperones are known to improve the folding of the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR), alleviating symptoms and increasing life expectancy of CF patients. Small drug molecules also show great promise in reversing cancer multi-drug resistance through several drug transporters in the body. Most efficacious pharmaceutical agents must be identified through time-consuming and expensive high-throughput drug screens and functional assays. Even though approximately one-third of current drugs target membrane proteins, a structure-based drug design strategy is precluded until three-dimensional crystal structures of relevant mammalian membrane proteins become available. We aim to overcome this hurdle by solving high-resolution x-ray crystal structures of these important human membrane proteins in complexes with molecular chaperones, pharmaceutical molecules and other protein partners. The structures will enable a bona fide analysis of drug-protein interactions and provide three-dimensional scaffolds for in silico drug screening and next-generation drug design.
Our laboratory is ideally located in the department of Pharmacology at UAB and the Center for Biophysical Structural Engineering, which allows us to interact and collaborate with experts in both medicine and basic research located in the medical school clinic and surrounding biochemistry laboratories. The PI is also a member of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB which allows us to work closely with experienced clinicians and scientists to take our research results to animal studies and clinical trials.
Dr. Aller received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University in 2006. He continued structural work on mammalian integral membrane proteins as a Ruth L. Kirstein NIH postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA. He joined the faculty in August of 2009 and is a member of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB.