The goal of my research is to develop novel treatments for cancers, and my focus is an oncogene called Ras. As a postdoctoral fellow, I was studying a protein called Kinase Suppressor of Ras (KSR). As its name suggests, this protein can prevent an overactivated, cancer-causing form of Ras protein from stimulating other genes that lead to increased cell division. We discovered that KSR in one configuration keeps Ras from doing its job, as expected; in the other configuration, it actually facilitates Ras activity. Now, my laboratory will synthetically generate small molecules that lock KSR into its Ras-blocking conformation. We will then determine whether any of these small molecules can reign in the ensuing increase in cell division activity in cells and in flies that possess the overactive form of this cancer-causing protein. The results could lead directly to new therapies for a variety of human cancers, more than 20 percent of which involve mutant forms of Ras.