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Dr. Kacper Rogala is Assistant Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine with a joint appointment between the Department of Structural Biology and the Department of Chemical & Systems Biology. He is also a Leader in the Stanford Cancer Institute.Kacper was born and raised in Poland, and educated in three wonderful British cities: Oxford, London and Edinburgh, where he studied chemistry of living things, or simply — biochemistry. During his studies, Kacper developed a deep passion for proteins — how they work, what they look like, and how they interact with other proteins and small molecules. This passion led him to pursue a trans-Atlantic postdoc between two Cambridges: one in the UK and one in Massachusetts. As a researcher at MIT, the Whitehead Institute, the Broad Institute, and the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Kacper began unraveling the mechanisms of nutrient sensing on the surface of lysosomes.Kacper joined Stanford as an assistant professor in 2022, and together with his team they are leading the charge towards mechanistic understanding of how cells control metabolism in response to nutrients and growth factors, and ways to modulate these activities with chemical probes — for the benefit of patients.
How are nutrients recognized by their protein sensors? How is their transport across cellular and intracellular membranes regulated? And, how is nutrient sensing integrated with other chemical signals, such as hormones, to determine cellular decisions, especially the decision: to grow or not to grow?We are a team of structural and chemical biologists aiming to answer these fundamental questions at the level of ångstroms, nanometers, and micrometers. Many proteins in these pathways are deregulated in cancer, and our mission is to first reveal the mechanism of action of these proteins, and then use that knowledge to develop targeted chemical probes to modulate their activity in cells and organisms.