Christopher Koth - Senior Scientist and Director, Structural Biology

Christopher Koth

Senior Scientist and Director, Structural Biology

Postdoc Mentor
"We aim to find and build better therapeutics by revealing biological processes at the molecular level. My lab joins in the drug hunt by studying the structure and function of challenging membrane protein targets."
Years at Genentech
Awards & Honors

Early in my scientific career, I knew that I wanted to join the ranks of drug hunters. I was attracted to Genentech because of its solid record in translating basic research and innovative ideas to the discovery of new medicines. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to connect my past experiences studying the structure and function of membrane proteins to new discovery efforts, and in a collaborative organization focused entirely on world-class research and drug development.

Although the majority of known and potential drug targets are found in the membrane, studies of this protein class are limited, with high-resolution structures of only a small fraction of the membrane proteome reported to date. It is our aim to help facilitate the study of any therapeutic target, regardless of its cellular localization. To this end, my lab has taken on the challenge of enabling structure, function and antibody discovery studies of membrane proteins. This is always a multidisciplinary effort, giving me the opportunity to collaborate with many talented scientists across the company. We are succeeding on numerous fronts, including enabling structural studies of the Nav1.7 sodium channel, glucagon receptor, bacterial manganese transporter and many other therapeutic membrane protein targets.

Postdoctoral Mentor

Basic research on membrane proteins is confounded by many unique challenges. Opportunely, our drug discovery programs generate tools and reagents that offer distinct advantages when pursuing scientific studies of membrane targets of therapeutic interest. These include antibodies, potent small-molecule ligands, cellular assays and high-throughput techniques. I aim to enable postdocs to translate these exceptional resources into unprecedented membrane protein structures. These studies further our understanding of membrane processes at the molecular level and can also benefit future drug discovery efforts at Genentech.

Featured Publication

Structural basis of Nav1.7 inhibition by an isoform-selective small-molecule antagonist.

Science. 2015; 350(6267)

Ahuja S, Mukund S, Deng L, Khakh K, Chang E, Ho H, Shriver S, Young C, Lin S, Johnson JP Jr, Wu P, Li J, Coons M, Tam C, Brillantes B, Sampang H, Mortara K, Bowman KK, Clark KR, Estevez A, Xie Z, Verschoof H, Grimwood M, Dehnhardt C, Andrez JC, Focken T, Sutherlin DP, Safina BS, Starovasnik MA, Ortwine DF, Franke Y, Cohen CJ, Hackos DH, Koth CM, Payandeh J.