Daniel Nomura

Title
Professor
Department
Dept of Chemistry
Dept of Molecular & Cell Biology
Dept of Nutritional Sciences & Toxicology
Phone
(510) 643-7258
Research Expertise and Interest
chemistry, molecular and cell biology, nutritional sciences and toxicology, metabolism, chemical biology, cancer, drug discovery, chemoproteomics, metabolomics, Alzheimer's Disease, neurodegenerative disease, undruggable, natural products chemistry
Research Description

Dan Nomura is a Professor of Chemical Biology in the Departments of Chemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology, and Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology at the University of California, Berkeley and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at UCSF. Since 2017, he has also been the Director of the Novartis-Berkeley Center for Proteomics and Chemistry Technologies focused on using chemoproteomic platforms to tackle the undruggable proteome. He is also Co-Founder and Head of the Scientific Advisory Board of Frontier Medicines.  Since 2018, he has also been an Associate Editor for Cell Chemical Biology. He earned his B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology and Ph.D. in Molecular Toxicology at UC Berkeley with Professor John Casida and was a postdoctoral fellow at Scripps Research with Professor Ben Cravatt before returning to Berkeley as a faculty member in 2011. Among his honors are selection as a Searle Scholar, American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award, the Department of Defense Breakthroughs Award, Eicosanoid Research Foundation Young Investigator Award, and the Mark Foundation for Cancer Research ASPIRE award.

The Nomura Research Group is focused on reimagining druggability using chemoproteomic platforms to develop transformative medicines. One of the greatest challenges that we face in discovering new disease therapies is that most proteins are considered “undruggable,” in that most proteins do not possess known binding pockets or “ligandable hotspots” that small-molecules can bind to modulate protein function. Our research group addresses this challenge by advancing and applying chemoproteomic platforms to discover and pharmacologically target unique and novel ligandable hotspots for disease therapy. We currently have three major research directions. Our first major focus is on developing and applying chemoproteomics-enabled covalent ligand discovery approaches to rapidly discover small-molecule therapeutic leads that target unique and novel ligandable hotspots for undruggable protein targets and pathways. Our second research area focuses on discovering and exploiting unique therapeutic modalities accessed by natural products. Our third research area focuses on using chemoproteomics-enabled covalent ligand discovery platforms to expand the scope of targeted protein degradation and to discover new induced proximity-based therapeutic modalities. Collectively, our lab is focused on developing next-generation transformative medicines through pioneering innovative chemical technologies to overcome challenges in drug discovery.

Major Research Directions

  1. Chemoproteomics-enabled covalent ligand discovery platforms to tackle the undruggable proteome
  2. Discovering therapeutic modalities targeted by natural products
  3. Expanding the scope of targeted protein degradation and induced proximity-based therapeutic modalities

 

In the News

October 5, 2020

An expert on 'undruggable' targets tackles the coronavirus

Throughout the grim reality of a global pandemic that has disrupted normal life for months, one persistent bright spot has been the robust response of the biomedical research community. The battle to develop vaccines and drugs to fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19, the disease which it causes, has highlighted the tremendous benefits of investing in science aimed at developing innovative research platforms and tools. When a new disease like COVID-19 arises, such platforms and tools developed for other purposes can be quickly pivoted to provide solutions to the emerging threat.
April 13, 2012

Nomura named Searle Scholar

Daniel Nomura, an assistant professor in nutritional sciences and toxicology, is one of 15 U.S. researchers in the chemical and biological sciences to be named a 2012 Searle Scholar.

In the News

October 5, 2020

An expert on 'undruggable' targets tackles the coronavirus

Throughout the grim reality of a global pandemic that has disrupted normal life for months, one persistent bright spot has been the robust response of the biomedical research community. The battle to develop vaccines and drugs to fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19, the disease which it causes, has highlighted the tremendous benefits of investing in science aimed at developing innovative research platforms and tools. When a new disease like COVID-19 arises, such platforms and tools developed for other purposes can be quickly pivoted to provide solutions to the emerging threat.
April 13, 2012

Nomura named Searle Scholar

Daniel Nomura, an assistant professor in nutritional sciences and toxicology, is one of 15 U.S. researchers in the chemical and biological sciences to be named a 2012 Searle Scholar.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
May 4, 2020
Lisa M. Jarvis
Chemistry, molecular and cell biology, and nutritional sciences and toxicology professor Daniel Nomura, an investigator in the Berkeley-UCSF Innovative Genomics Institute, has been working with the pharmaceutical company Novartis on ways of developing drugs that harness proteins using cysteine-reactive probes. That work is now being adapted in efforts to fight COVID-19 by targeting the virus's proteins. Speaking of the main protease they're investigating, he says: "This enzyme is really well behaved and has at the center of it this amino acid -- a cysteine -- that coordinates the chemistry. ... We have this very large library of cysteine-targeting covalent ligands that we've been building out over many years. ... We thought that was a perfect way into targeting the catalytic cysteine of what I would consider a highly druggable protein."
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