Christina Woo

Chemical biology studies of the thalidomide binding domain of cereblon
Harvard University (UK)


Christina M. Woo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, and an affiliate member of the Broad Institute.  Christina’s research focuses on the design of small molecule and protein approaches to alter post-translational modifications and the signaling outcomes they produce. She obtained a BA in Chemistry from Wellesley College (2008) and conducted undergraduate research with Professor Dora Carrico-Moniz.  She obtained her PhD in 2013 from Yale University under the guidance of Professor Seth B. Herzon as an NSF predoctoral fellow in the synthetic and chemical biology studies of diazofluorene antitumor antibiotics.  In 2013, Christina joined the laboratory of Professor Carolyn R. Bertozzi at the University of California Berkeley as a Jane Coffins Child postdoctoral fellow and continued at Stanford University (2015) as a Burroughs Wellcome Fund postdoctoral fellow, where she developed a mass-independent chemical glycoproteomics platform for the identification of non-templated post-translational modifications.  Christina joined the faculty at Harvard University in 2016.  Her research has been recognized by the Camille-Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, Sloan Research Foundation, NSF CAREER, Bayer Early Excellence in Science Award, the NIH DP1 Avenir Award, and the Ono Pharma Foundation Breakthrough Science Award.


About her talk: Chemical biology studies of the thalidomide binding domain of cereblon

The E3 ligase adaptor cereblon is a target of thalidomide and lenalidomide, therapeutic agents that are used in the treatment of hematopoietic cancers despite teratogenic toxicity.  These agents act in part by modulating substrate selection and degradation through the thalidomide binding domain of cereblon.  However, despite the expanding use of cereblon in targeted protein degradation technologies, identification of a degron, the recognition domain that controls the endogenous substrate selection mechanisms of cereblon, has remained elusive. Here, I will describe chemoproteomics approaches to target identification in the study of molecular glues like lenalidomide, and how these chemical biology approaches can reveal new insights about the thalidomide binding domain of cereblon.