Jason Gestwicki, PhD
Associate Director of Academic Affairs
Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Dr. Gestwicki completed his undergraduate studies at SUNY Fredonia in 1997 and earned his PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 2002. He then performed postdoctoral studies at Stanford University prior to starting his independent group at the University of Michigan in 2005. In 2013, his group relocated to UCSF, joining the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and the IND.
The Gestwicki laboratory is interested in how molecular chaperones regulate protein folding and homeostasis. The group discovers and develops new chemical probes that are used to disrupt chaperone function, revealing how these factors are involved in the triage of misfolded proteins. Misfolded proteins are known to accumulate in many disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases. Thus, by better understanding the roles of molecular chaperones in disease, the Gestwicki lab hopes to identify new opportunities for drug discovery. Ultimately, the group is working toward rebalancing protein homeostasis as a new treatment for neurodegenerative disorders.
In its quest to understand chaperone function, the Gestwicki lab primarily uses high throughput screening, molecular design, protein biochemistry, and organic synthesis. Lab members are particularly interested in finding ways of perturbing the function of traditionally “undruggable” proteins by targeting protein-protein interactions and allosteric sites.