Ralf Landgraf, PhD
- Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
- Director of Shella and David Fuente Graduate Program in Cancer Biology
- Member of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
Molecular Interactions / Structure Function Relationships Protein Folding / Receptor Biology / Membrane Microenvironment, especially rafts and protein-ganglioside interactions / Metabolic Regulation linked to growth factor signaling / Aptamer and small molecule based probe design.
2001 PostDoc, Receptor Biology, Bioinformatics
1995 PhD, Biological Chemistry
1990 Diplom (masters equiv.), Physological Chemistry
University of Tuebingen, Germany
Born in Germany, Dr Landgraf studied Physiological Chemistry at the University of Tuebingen (1984-1990) ending in a (masters equivalent) Diplom Thesis. (1989-1990) Biosynthesis of the variable surface glycoprotein coat of Trypanosomes, Mentor Dr. M. Duszenko). During these studies, he spent one year (1988) at the University of London, Queen Mary College to carry out research on fast enzyme kinetics (Dr. G. Betts).
For his doctoral research he moved to the United States. At the Department of Biological Chemistry, UCLA, 1990-1995), he worked with Dr. David Sigman on the design of artificial nucleases. This involved the structure based development of chimeric proteins that carry out directed cleavage of DNA through the Fenton chemistry like activity of minor grove targeted, organo metallic complexes (orthophenantroline-copper) that are covalently attached to specific protein positions in the protein/nucleic acid interface. The need to better understand and utilize structural information prompted him to carry out postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Dr. David Eisenberg (UCLA, 1996-2001). Here he developed programs for the prediction of transient protein interfaces (3D cluster analysis) and had his first exposure to receptor biology through the development and characterization of growth factor ligand-diphteria toxin chimera. It also included the entirely unanticipated discovery of non-ligand induced clustering of ERBB3 (HER3) receptor extracellular domains.
As an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Hematology Oncology at UCLA (2001-2007) he expanded his research program on ERBB receptor signaling. Intrigued by the very pronounced, often diametrically opposed, outcomes of ERBB receptor signaling, this work focused on the role of the immediate receptor environment and higher order association states in signal modulation. With his move to the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Miami in 2008, he expanded this research further to include studies on the membrane microenvironment, roles in metabolic regulation by non-overexpressed ERBB receptors, the development of fluorescent probes for receptor activations states, and the use of lab generated and SELEX based RNA aptamer probes to dissect and modulate higher order receptor association states in normal and deregulated receptor signaling.
Dr. Landgraf currently serves as the Program Director for the Sheila and David Fuente Graduate Program in Cancer Biology.