Dr. Hiasa is an Associate Professor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUGS) in the Department of Pharmacology. He received his B.S. in Molecular Biology from Kyoto University and earned his M.S. in Biophysical Chemistry and Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Kyoto University Graduate School in Kyoto, Japan. He worked as a visiting research scientist at New York University Medical Center and received postdoctoral training at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY before joining the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
Dr. Hiasa's laboratory studies the mechanisms of topoisomerases, as well as antibacterial and anticancer drugs that target topoisomerases. Topoisomerases are essential enzymes that catalyze DNA unlinking. As such, these enzymes play critical roles in almost every aspect of DNA metabolism, especially DNA replication and chromosome segregation. Their importance is underscored by the fact that these enzymes are the cellular targets of certain anticancer drugs in eukaryotes and, in prokaryotes, both DNA gyrase and topoisomerase IV are the targets of the most potent broad-spectrum antibacterial drugs. Dr. Hiasa and his collaborators discovered novel quinolone-based human topoisomerase I catalytic inhibitors and are currently conducting the preclinical studies of these compounds to develop them as a new class of anticancer agents. Dr. Hiasa's group is also involved in studies on various DNA gyrase and human topoisomerase II inhibitors. Mechanisms of human topoisomerase I poisons (camptothecin) and our novel human topoisomerase I catalytic inhibitors (N1-biphenyl fluoroquinolone).
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