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"Structure-function analysis of the human plasma glycoprotein afamin, a potential drug target in the treatment of metabolic syndrome." (SAXCESS)
Start date: Feb 1, 2013, End date: Jan 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The proposed project (SAXCESS - Structure-function of Afamin by X-ray Crystallography Enabled Structure Solution) builds on preliminary results of a collaborative effort between the applicant (B. Rupp), an experienced structural biologist and crystallographer, based in California, with the group of Dr. Dieplinger, Associate Professor at the host institution (Department of Medical Genetics, Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology, Medical University Innsbruck). The SAXCESS project centers around the determination and analysis of the detailed molecular structure the human glycoprotein afamin, a vitamin E transporting protein, whose elevated levels are associated with all major parameters for the metabolic syndrome such as high blood glucose, hyperlipemia, obesity and high blood pressure. The immediate objective of this high-risk, high-reward project is the elucidation of the structure-function relationships of afamin following a flexible approach including parallel strategies and fall-back options. In the long term, the transfer of knowledge enabling the successful structure determination of afamin will open an entirely new direction of research at the European host laboratory and build the basis for a long-term collaboration between applicant and host on potential therapeutic applications. Detailed knowledge of the afamin structure will ultimately reveal the origin of its functional diversity and allow critical evaluation of its potential as a therapeutic target within already known but also yet unknown pathophysiological areas.In addition to an excellent scientific record, the applicant has substantial experience as an educator, workshop organizer, and text book author. Special emphasis is placed on public awareness raising outreach activities and transfer of knowledge to the European host laboratory as well as overall enhancement of competitiveness and excellence in the European Research Area."

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