Allen Thomas, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Organic Chemistry

Office: BHS 413A   |    Phone: (308) 865-8452   |    Email: thomasaa@unk.edu

Allen Thomas

Biography

Areas of Interest
Designing drugs that utilize membrane transporter proteins to treat brain cancer and Alzheimer’s disease

Education
Ph.D. Chemistry (Organic), The Scripps Research Institute, 2000

M.S. Chemistry (Organic), Baylor University, 1994

B.S. Chemistry (summa cum laude, highest ranking student), Baylor University, 1992

Faculty Appointment
2014 – present Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Nebraska at Kearney


Announcements

Research Funding

In 2017, Dr. Thomas received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) through the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) for a project entitled “Identification of new LAT-1 transporter substrates for drug delivery” (R15 NS099981). His research group seeks to exploit one of the body’s natural mechanisms for transporting amino acids, the LAT-1 protein, for targeted drug delivery across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and cancer cells that express this transporter. Guided by computational models developed in collaboration with Prof. Avner Schlessinger at Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, students in the Thomas lab apply organic chemistry techniques to synthesize amino acid mimetics and drug-amino acid conjugates, which are then tested in cells engineered to express LAT-1 by his collaborator, Dr. Kathleen Giacomini at University California San Francisco. This research project has broad applications for treating many different diseases both in the brain and other tissues where LAT-1 is heavily expressed, including cancer.

NIH-R15 Funding - Dr. Thomas receives 399K award!


Publications

“LAT1 activity of carboxylic acid bioisosteres: Evaluation of hydroxamic acids as substrates,” Zur, A.A.; Chien, H.-C.; Augustyn, E.; Flint, A.; Heeren, N.; Finke, K.; Hernandez, C.; Hansen, L.; Miller, S.; Lin, L.; Giacomini, K.M.; Colas, C.; Schlessinger, A.; Thomas, A.A.Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 201626, 5000-5006.

"LAT-1 Activity of meta-Substituted Phenylalanine and Tyrosine Analogs” Augustyn, E.; Finke, K.; Zur, A.A.; Hansen, L; Heeren, N.; Chien, H.-C.; Lin, L.; Giacomini, K.M.; Colas, C.; Schlessinger, A.; Thomas, A.A., Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 2016, 26, 2616-2621.

“8-Tetrahydropyran-2-yl chromans: highly selective beta-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) inhibitors,” Thomas, A.A.; Hunt, K.W.; Newhouse, B.; Watts, R.J.; Liu, X.; Vigers, G.; Smith, D.; Rhodes, S.P.; Brown, K.D.; Otten, J.N.; Burkard, M.; Cox, A.A.; Geck Do, M.K.; Dutcher, D.; Rana, S.; DeLisle, R.K.; Regal, K.; Wright. A.D.; Groneberg, R.; Liao, J.; Scearce-Levie, K.; Siu, M.; Purkey, H.E.; Lyssikatos, J.P., J. Med. Chem. 201457, 10112-10129.

“Discovery of 7‑Tetrahydropyran-2-yl Chromans: β‑Site Amyloid Precursor Protein Cleaving Enzyme 1 (BACE1) Inhibitors That Reduce Amyloid β‑Protein (Aβ) in the Central Nervous System,” Thomas, A.A.; Hunt, K.W.; Volgraf, M.; Watts, R.J.; Liu, X.; Vigers, G.; Smith, D.; Sammond, D.; Tang, T.P.; Rhodes, S.P.; Metcalf, A.T.; Brown, K.D.; Otten, J.N.; Burkard, M.; Cox, A.A.; Geck Do, M.K.; Dutcher, D.; Rana, S.; DeLisle, R.K.; Regal, K.; Wright. A.D.; Groneberg, R.; Scearce-Levie, K.; Siu, M.; Purkey, H.E.; Lyssikatos, J.P.; Gunawardana, I., J. Med. Chem. 2014, 57, 878-902.

“Spirocyclic β-Site Amyloid Precursor Protein Cleaving Enzyme 1 (BACE1) Inhibitors: From Hit to Lowering of Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Amyloid β in a Higher Species.” Hunt, K.W.; Cook, A.W.; Watts, R.J.; Clark, C.T.; Vigers, G.; Smith, D.; Metcalf, A.T.; Gunawardana, I.W.; Burkard, M.; Cox, A.A.; Geck Do, M.K.; Dutcher, D.; Thomas, A.A.; Rana, S.; Kallan, N.C.; DeLisle, R.K.; Rizzi, J.P.; Regal, K.; Sammond, D.; Groneberg, R.; Siu, M.; Purkey, H.; Lyssikatos, J.P.; Marlow, A.; Liu, X.; Tang, T.P.,
J. Med. Chem. 2013, 56, 3379-3403.