Originally trained as a kinase biochemist, Dr. Ali maintains intensive research interest into this family of drug targets. Kinases regulate most - if not all - aspects of cell biology, and mounting evidence demonstrates that kinases critically mediate both degenerative and regenerative CNS pathologies. The kinome represents the second largest drug target family (after GPCRs), despite the fact that only ~10% of all kinases are currently targeted by FDA approved drugs. Utilizing the kinome to treat the CNS therefor remains a novel idea that is yet to be exploited.
As a member of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis (MP), our lab collaborates with others in the MP to develop innovative technologies that could accelerate the identification of kinase drug targets. We also develop cell-based assays that can be readily deployed for probing mechanisms related to nerve regeneration and CNS immunomodulation. The NKP is a multi-lab collaboration between Dr. Ali's group and several others at the MP (Lemmon/Bixby, Lee, Brambilla). The overall goal is to increase the translational potential of research into therapeutics for CNS repair.