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Melanie Uguen, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Drug Discovery, 2023 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Exploring Strategies to Develop a Drug for a Promising Cancer Treatment Target


Gene expression is the process by which instructions in our DNA are converted into proteins, which are vital to the normal function of our bodies. Abnormal gene expression is linked with disease development, especially cancer.

SETDB1, a protein involved in controlling the accessibility of DNA for this process, is a promising target for drug development for cancer. My work focuses on using parallel strategies to develop a drug for SETDB1 to increase the chances of finding one that works and can reach patients soon.

One strategy consists of developing drugs that can either temporarily or permanently block the normal activity of SETDB1. Another strategy aims to get rid of the entire SETDB1 protein by using the body’s normal protein disposal system. Hopefully, one of these strategies will lead to the discovery of the first drug able to prevent SETDB1 from abnormally reducing the accessibility of DNA for gene expression.

The PhRMA Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship will support my research on the discovery and development of novel therapeutic modalities for cancer treatment. I am thankful to the Foundation for supporting a French female researcher, and I hope this will encourage many other international women to pursue research in the USA.

Melanie Uguen

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