Manglik, Arkin, Bastian receive Mark Foundation ASPIRE Award for moonshot cancer research

UCSF’s Aashish Manglik, MD, PhD; Michelle Arkin, PhD; and Boris Bastian, MD, PhD together received a Mark Foundation ASPIRE Award for their collaborative efforts to develop a therapy for uveal melanoma, the most common form of eye cancer.

Manglik is a faculty member in the UCSF School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry; Arkin is chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry; and Bastian is a faculty member in the School of Medicine.

Each year, The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research selects recipients from around the world to receive ASPIRE awards to support innovative projects that have the potential to solve high-impact problems in cancer research. The three UCSF collaborators will use the grant to explore new potential treatments for uveal melanoma that defeat the cancer while preserving vision, based on an understanding of the mutated proteins that contribute to risk of the cancer.

The project will draw upon each scientist’s area of expertise. The Manglik Lab will use its array of atomic imaging technologies, like electron microscopy, and understanding of protein signaling, along with the Arkin Lab’s expertise in protein-protein interactions, to pinpoint molecules that interface with proteins of interest in the disease. The Bastian Lab will then engineer relevant models of the disease in cells and animals to test the molecules.

Altogether, the approach is a “very integrative, structure-based drug discovery type of work that the UCSF School Pharmacy is well known for,” said Manglik.


Exploiting Protein Structural Dynamics for New Uveal Melanoma Therapies


School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, PharmD Degree Program

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.