Prof Martin Eilers
Martin Eilers is professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Würzburg in Germany. After a Ph.D. at the university of Basel, he joined Michael Bishop’s laboratory at the UCSF, where he started working on Myc by generating MycER chimeric molecules, which are widely used as tools to study Myc and N-Myc proteins. Since then, his work focuses on the function and regulation of human Myc proteins. One focus of his recent work is the question of how proteasomal turnover of Myc proteins is coupled to the transcriptional activities. His work on neuroblastoma started from gene expression studies that identified a gene expression profile associated with MYCN amplification. An shRNA screen of these genes identified Aurora-A as being essential for growth of MYCN-amplified cells. The subsequent molecular analysis showed that Aurora-A and N-Myc form a complex that stabilizes N-Myc. Importantly, the complex can be targeted using small molecule inhibitors, leading to degradation of N-Myc and also, for some inhibitors, Aurora-A. In his presentation, Martin will discuss new insights into the composition, the structure and the function of the Aurora-A/N-Myc and Aurora-A/c-Myc complexes and will discuss implications for a targeted therapy.