Cameron Smithers is a PhD student in Michael Overduin's lab in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Alberta.
He is studying proteins that act as switches for cell growth and are hyperactivated in cancer cells.
In particular, Cameron is analyzing the 3D structure and interactions of a scaffold protein (Lbc) that controls a nucleotide switch protein (RhoA). This complex represents a new target for diseases including prostate cancer and cardiac hypertrophy.
Working with biologists at the University of Alberta including Dr. Gary Eitzen he is testing drug-like molecules being designed in collaboration with Dr. Dario Diviani at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and Dr. Francesca Fanelli University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy.
Previously Cameron earned an Honours. B. Sc. Biochemistry degree from the University of Ottawa. He was awarded Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarships (2015 & 2016), a Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship (2015), and a Walter H. Johns Graduate Fellowship (2015).
He received the Stephen Campbell Memorial Graduate Student Teaching Award (2014), and continues to teach in undergraduate courses including BIOCH401 Undergraduate Biochemistry Laboratory Course, BIOCH320 Structure and Catalysis, and BIOCH200 Introduction to Biochemistry at the University of Alberta. He has also served as the President of the Biochemistry Graduate Students’ Association, and helped found DiscoveryLab and CureCancer.
Cameron has recently published:
Smithers CC, Overduin M (2016) Structural Mechanisms and Drug Discovery Prospects of Rho GTPases. Cells 5(2)
Arutyunova E, Smithers CC, Corradi V, Espiritu AC, Young HS, Tieleman DP, Lemieux MJ (2016) Probing catalytic rate enhancement during intramembrane proteolysis. Biol Chem. 397(9):907-19.