Skip to main content

Accidental NMR Expert Lands at GeneFormatics

Premium

Peter Domaille was trained in spectroscopy when he began his career at DuPont, though he had never done magnetic resonance. “But I was almost thrust into a position there because I understood angular momentum,” he says.

Since then, his work — at DuPont and now as director of structural biology at GeneFormatics — has centered on the technology. “In the late ’80s it became very clear that the area of chemistry that I was working in, which was catalysis, was dying. An emerging area was structure biology,” says Domaille. He then made his move, first from a technology base and then to how NMR might be used in drug discovery.

At GeneFormatics, he sees his role as integrating the computational side with the experimental side and having the ability to find “high-value target structures of both proteins in their uncomplex state and with ligands bound as potential drug leads,” he says.

Domaille wants to combine NMR with x-ray crystallography when searching for drug leads, saying that compounds that bind tightly to proteins are more suited for x-ray crystallography and compounds that bind weakly are more suited for NMR. “You need to choose the best available weapon to solve the structures, and they are very complimentary,” he says.

The move from big pharma to biotech intrigued Domaille, as did the depth of the structural biology and the computational focus at GeneFormatics. “Computation will always work. Whether it’s right or not needs to be determined by experiment,” he says. “Blending of those two things together is what sets us apart from other people and what interested me.”

— Amanda Urban

 

The Scan

Pfizer-BioNTech Seek Full Vaccine Approval

According to the New York Times, Pfizer and BioNTech are seeking full US Food and Drug Administration approval for their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

Viral Integration Study Critiqued

Science writes that a paper reporting that SARS-CoV-2 can occasionally integrate into the host genome is drawing criticism.

Giraffe Species Debate

The Scientist reports that a new analysis aiming to end the discussion of how many giraffe species there are has only continued it.

Science Papers Examine Factors Shaping SARS-CoV-2 Spread, Give Insight Into Bacterial Evolution

In Science this week: genomic analysis points to role of human behavior in SARS-CoV-2 spread, and more.