The Ovaa lab studies the chemistry of ubiquitin-mediated protein proteolysis and antigen processing and presentation.
Research is based on novel chemical tools. For example, despite the complexity of the ubiquitylation machinery we can now construct ubiquitylated proteins and polypeptides for research purposes thanks to chemical methods that the Ovaa lab has developed. Virtually any ubiquitin or ubiquitin-like conjugate can be synthesized, including ubiquitin chains. These techniques allow the design of novel assay reagents to address outstanding questions in the ubiquitin research field and to find small molecule drug candidates.
The Ovaa lab furthermore designs activity based probes (ABPs) that can report enzymatic activity in complex samples containing multiple enzymatic activities associated with the Ubiquitin and Ubiquitin-like machineries. We also study proteasome inhibition and activation.
Work on MHC tetramers aims to develop faster methods to load MHC molecules with desired epitopes to stain T-cells, important for the study and identification of neoantigens important in immunotherapy of cancer.
Finally, the Ovaa lab has a vast experience with high troughput small molecule screening and has its own libraries and acoustic-based dispensing station for this purpose. A team of synthetic organic chemists takes on hit and hit-to-lead optimization programmes to find starting points for therapeutic agents and tool compounds.