Khanh (Kendrick) Nguyen Completes His Ph.D. for "Investigating the Homo-Oligomerization of the Human Adenosine A2A Receptor"

Kendrick joined the Han Lab in 2016 after graduating from the University of New Orleans. Under the direction of Prof. Michelle O'Malley (ChE) and Prof. Songi Han (DCB) Kendrick's research focus is that of human adenosine A2A receptor (A2AR), a model GPCR with a 122-residue C-terminus, on which a mutation appears to prevent protein oligomerization. Oligomerization of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) is a widespread phenomenon whose discovery generates a plethora of alternative targets for new therapeutic approaches towards human diseases.. His projects with G protein-coupled receptors give him a strong background in molecular cloning and protein expression using E. coli and S. cerevisiae, membrane protein purification and relevant chromatography techniques (IMAC, affinity, and size exclusion), biophysical techniques such as cw-EPR, DEER, and cryo-EM. Kendrick’s dissertation is on the topic “Investigating the Homo-Oligomerization of the Human Adenosine A2A Receptor”. Challenges associated with the intrinsically disordered C-terminus have hindered biophysical and structural studies of GPCR oligomers, especially in terms of driving factors of formation and interfaces. During his defense, Kendrick discussed the critical role of the disordered C-terminus in the oligomerization of a GPCR. He discussed the following in detail: (1) understand how the C-terminus facilitates A2AR oligomerization, (2) visualize the oligomeric interfaces of A2AR, and (3) address the difficulties in biophysical and structural studies of A2AR. Additionally, Kendrick described how styrene-maleic acid (SMA) copolymers were employed to encapsulate A2AR and the bacterial proton pump proteorhodopsin and characterized their functional activities.  The methods and insights described in his work offer important guidance on how to modify the C-terminus and apply various biophysical tools for in vitro studies of GPCR oligomers. During his time in the Han Lab, Kendrick  was also the Han Lab web page manager in charge of keeping the website up to date with the most current lab news. Kendrick’s dedication, hard work, and positive attitude have impacted us all at the Han Lab.   Congratulations again, Dr. Khanh (Kendrick) Nguyen!

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