Hof, Fraser

Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Supramolecular and Medicinal Chemistry


Phone number: (250) 721-7193
Email: fhof@uvic.ca
Department: Chemistry

Research description:

- The intersection of supramolecular chemistry and medicinal chemistry
- Bio-organic chemistry
- Cancer

Expertise Profile
Understanding how protein molecules bind together is essential for creating specific therapies to cure different types of cancer.

Organic chemist Fraser Hof and his team in the chemistry department are experts in molecular binding. They design new synthetic molecules in the lab, working to create the "perfect partner" that will bind with cancer-causing agents within a cell.

In one project, Dr. Hof is looking for chemical inhibitors of the protein molecules called the "master controllers," which regulate how fast a cell is growing. In cancer, cells can't stop growing, resulting in tumours, which can then spread the cancer throughout the rest of the body.

Although he's specifically fabricating inhibitors for master proteins that are most aggressive in prostate cancer - one of the most difficult to treat due to its resistance to drugs - his partnership with several drug development agencies has helped him discover links to ovarian and breast cancer.

The challenge when synthesizing a new molecule is to get it to block its target amidst a sea of other potential partners inside a cell, he says. What's more, the molecule needs to bind strongly enough so it overrides the command to grow forever.

Dr. Hof injects his molecules in test tubes to see how they react to, and bind selectively with, their targets. He collaborates with other labs on a family of projects aimed at developing new therapies and diagnostics that specifically treat each individual type of cancer.

In class, Dr. Hof inspires his students to be curious, which comes from his passion for organic chemistry. He provides many research examples in his lectures to show students the expanse of the field, and that there's always more to explore.

Related Links
Dr. Hof's Faces of UVic Research video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lhImUZ03p0

Countries lived or worked in:

Dr. Hof has lived/worked in the U.S. and Switzerland.

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