Ville Paavilainen

Dr. Ville Paavilainen is a Tenure Track Group Leader at the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Helsinki in Finland. The Paavilainen laboratory focuses on identification of novel natural product and synthetic small molecules that potently and specifically modulate protein homeostasis capacity of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Such molecules can provide new lead compounds for targeting specific cell types in diseases such as cancer or to prevent viral replication for viruses that depend on the ER machinery for biogenesis, assembly and trafficking of viral proteins. Further, molecules that boost ER protein homeostatic capacity could provide benefits in cellular contexts where altered protein folding contributes to disease such as during cystic fibrosis or other protein misfolding diseases. My laboratory has revealed how many natural product inhibitors induce cytotoxicity by direct targeting of the Sec61 protein translocon. Taken together, we use a multidisciplinary approach, including chemogenomic screening and structural biology, to reveal mechanisms of action of potent small molecules that impact cellular proteostasis.