Daniel Abankwa is Professor for Cancer Cell Biology at the University of Luxembourg. He studied chemistry and biology in Göttingen (Germany), and completed his PhD in molecular neurobiology in Düsseldorf (Germany). In 2002, he moved as a postdoc to the EPFL in Switzerland, before he started working on the oncogene RAS with Prof. John Hancock at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience of the University of Queensland (Australia) in 2006. He then became junior group leader with Prof. Kirill Alexandrov at the same institute in 2008, before he became independent as group leader and adjunct professor at the Turku Centre for Biotechnology/ Turku Bioscience Centre (Finland) in 2010.
Daniel obtained several competitive fellowships, such as the Sigrid Juselius Senior Fellowship or the Academy of Finland Research Fellowship. He is an alumni of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes).
Daniel focuses on understanding how the different Ras isoforms impact on cancer cell stemness diversity and how this can be exploited for drug targeting of Ras. He provided pioneering Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET)-data supporting that Ras undergoes biologically significant conformational transitions in the plasma membrane. Daniel is an expert in studying Ras nanocluster, which are signaling hubs of Ras in the membrane. His group employs quantitative fluorescence imaging, flow cytometry, biochemical and cellular assay development and molecular cell biology. They developed several FRET- and BRET-biosensors for the detection of functional membrane anchorage of small GTPases and Src-family proteins, as well as for various interactions in the Ras pathway. Recently, several drug development projects were launched against Ras surrogate targets employing in silico screening, classical small molecules, protein-protein interface targeting small molecules and peptides/ peptidomomimetics.
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