After a receiving his PhD in biochemistry from Govind Ballabh Pant University and his master’s degree from Cancer Hospital & Research Institute, both in India, Rakesh Rathore conducted postdoctoral research in the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics at Göteborg University in Sweden and then the Center for Cardiovascular Sciences at Albany Medical Center. Rathore is currently working as a research scientist within the Proteomics & Mass Spectrometry Core Laboratory and the Department of Cancer Biology at UC.
He is involved in implementing mass spectrometry-based high-throughput screening technologies to identify drug leads. Mass spectrometry is a tool that can be effectively used to detect ionizable elements in a wide variety of sample types in the form of mass to charge ratio. Mass spectrometry-based assays offer a rapid, sensitive and direct approach to measure the effects on enzyme activity.He also oversees the operation of the UC diverse pharmaceutical compound repository, which consists of over 350,000 compounds.
He serves as reviewer and editorial advisory board member in drug discovery and development journals, including the Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening and the Journal of Bimolecular Screening.
What brought you to UC?
"I was looking for new technology development opportunities after several years of conducting calcium signaling basic research at Albany Medical Center, and at the same time, my wife assumed a fellowship at a Dayton-based health care system. So we decided to move to this area, where I obtained a research position in the Proteomics & Mass Spectrometry Laboratory with Ken Greis, PhD, on a drug discovery technology project which was funded by MDS Analytical Technologies in Canada. Since industry is currently taking part in many collaborative research efforts with academia, this unique position made my move to UC a great professional opportunity. This area turns out to be a great place to raise a family, and we have been here for about six years.”
What is the focus of your research? What discoveries have you made?
"My focus of research is on mass spectrometry-based enzyme assay development and high-throughput screening technologies for drug discovery applications, and we have developed a new mass spectrometry-based tool that provides more precise, cost-effective data collection for drug discovery.
"Using robotics, data processing and control software, liquid handling devices, and sensitive detectors, high-throughput screening allows a researcher to quickly conduct millions of chemical, genetic or pharmacological tests. Through this process one can rapidly identify active compounds which modulate a particular biomolecular pathway. The results of these experiments provide starting points for drug design and for understanding the interaction or role of a particular biochemical process in biology.
"Recently we have extended our capabilities to screen more than 30,000 compounds with mass spectrometry and compared our results with conventional fluorescence methods, which is part of a National Cancer Institute-funded Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies grant with Dr. Greis. We obtained interesting data to help understand how one can improve the chances of obtaining hits more likely to succeed in clinical trials, which would have been missed using traditional methods of screening. This has the potential of changing the way drug discovery research is performed.
"We further extended this technology to develop a fee for service model for other investigators that was demonstrated by 25,000 compounds screened for a group at Case Western Reserve University. Now, we can offer targeted screening of 1,000 to 5,000 compounds as a revenue source for core facility.
"This year, the work was recognized as a finalist of the Waters Corporation poster award during the 2013 Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities conference and in the 'Gallery Of Excellence' at UC Research Day 2013.
"At UC, I worked on a Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center grant to the company CardioCeption, LLC, founded by Keith Jones, PhD, and part of the UC Tech Accelerator, which was involved in the pre-clinical studies in various cardiovascular conditions.”
How will this impact patient care?
"Drug discovery is the perfect bridge between basic and clinical research. We are one of very few research institutes to have a library of over 350,000 compounds, which enables us to screen many new and existing drug targets for new leads with the potential for new therapeutics. From our own data using this library, we obtained promising hits and are further evaluating the results, which may have the potential to impact patient care through the development of successful drugs in the future.”
What do you like to do in your spare time?
"I mainly enjoy spending time with my family and friends and traveling. I have a 3-year-old daughter who loves playing with me, thus my evening time is quite different from what I do at UC. I have been involved with United Way activities in the recent past and would like to continue such services to similar nonprofit organizations.”