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Faculty Detail    
Campus Address SHEL 710 Zip 2182
Phone  (205) 975-2465
Other websites PubMed

Undergraduate  Washington University in Saint Louis    2002  B.A. (Chemistry) 
Graduate  The Scripps Research Institute    2007  Ph.D. (Structural Biology) 
Fellowship  Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute    2012  Post-Doctoral (Cancer Biology) 

Faculty Appointment(s)
Appointment Type Department Division Rank
Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center Associate Professor
Primary  Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics  Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics Associate Professor
Secondary  Chemistry  Chemistry Assistant Professor

Graduate Biomedical Sciences Affiliations
Biochemistry and Structural Biology 
Cancer Biology 
Medical Scientist Training Program 
Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine 

Biographical Sketch 
William J. Placzek is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. He is also the Director of the Central Alabama High-Field NMR Facility, Co-Director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Structural Biology Shared Facility, member of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC), and the Center for Structural Biology. The focus of his research is cancer drug discovery using synthetic peptides and structure-based drug design. Dr. Placzek received his B.A. degree in Chemistry from Washington University in Saint Louis in 2002 and his Ph.D. in 2007 from the Scripps Research Institute under the supervision of Dr. Kurt WŁthrich. During his postdoctoral work in Dr. Maurizio Pellecchia's group at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, he worked on the development of peptide and small-molecule inhibitors of the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family of proteins and peptide-drug conjugates targeting the ephrin family of proteins. He joined the UAB faculty in 2012.

Society Memberships
Organization Name Position Held Org Link
American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics  Member   
American Association for Cancer Research  Member   
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology  Member   

Research/Clinical Interest
Anti-cancer target validation and structure-based drug discovery.
The development of cancer therapeutics targeted toward critical components of cell signaling pathways exploited during oncogenesis, i.e. apoptosis or gene regulation, will remain one of the primary goals of translational cancer research for the foreseeable future. Success will necessitate the characterization of high-impact protein targets for binding sites amenable to inhibitor development. The primary focus of my research group is the discovery of peptide and small-molecule inhibitors of cell signaling proteins involved in cancer gene regulation and apoptosis resistance. Our goal is to utilize a multidisciplinary approach employing structural biology, synthetic peptide chemistry, NMR and cell based high-throughput drug screening, peptide phage display screening, pharmacophore identification and cell biology studies to better understand key mechanisms amenable to cancer therapeutic development. Mcl-1, a B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) family member and a key apoptosis regulator involved in the progression and chemotherapeutic resistance of human cancer and Ubc9, the sumo E2 ligase that regulates functional activity of a wide range of cancer related transcription factors, are of particular interest to our group.

Selected Publications 
Publication PUBMEDID
Cui, J. and Placzek, W.J. (2018) Post-transcriptional regulation of anti-apoptotic BCL-2 family members. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 19: 308.  27367564 
Placzek, W.J., Yanagawa, H., Makita, Y., Renfrow, M.B., Julian, B.A., Rizk, D.V., Suzuki, Y., Novak, J., and Suzuki, H. (2018) Serum galactose-deficient-IgA1 and IgG autoantibodies correlate in patients with IgA nephropathy. PLOS One, 13(1): e0190967.  29324897 
Cui, J. and Placzek, W.J. (2016) PTBP1 modulation of MCL1 expression regulates cellular apoptosis by antitubulin chemotherapeutics. Cell Death Diff 23: 1681-1690.  27367564 
Qi, J., Tripathi, M., Mishra, R., Sahgal, N., Fazil, L., Ettinger, S., Placzek, W.J., Claps, G., Chung, L.W., Bowtell, D., Gleave, M., Bhowmick, N. and Ronai, Z.A. (2013) The e3 ubiquitin ligase siah2 contributes to castration-resistant prostate cancer by regulation of androgen receptor transcriptional activity. Cancer Cell 23: 332-346.  23518348 
Jackson, R.S., Placzek, W.J., Fernandez, A., Ziaee, S., Chu, C.Y., Stebbins, J., Kitada, S., Fritz, G., Reed, J.C., Chung, L.W., Pellecchia, M. and Bhowmick, N.A. (2012) Sabutoclax, a Mcl-1 antagonist, inhibits tumorigenesis in transgenic mouse and human xenograft models of prostate cancer. Neoplasia, 14: 656 – 665.  22904682 
Wang, S., Placzek, W.J., Stebbins, J., Mitra, S., Noberini, R., Koolpe, M., Zhang, Z., Dahl, R., Pasquale, E., and Pellecchia, M. (2012) A novel targeted system to deliver chemotherapeutic drugs to EphA2-expressing cancer cells. J. Med. Chem. 55: 2427 – 2436.  22329578 
Placzek, W.J., Sturlese, M., Wu, B., Celitti, J. and Pellecchia, M. (2011). Identification of a novel Mcl-1 protein binding motif. J. Biol. Chem., 286: 39829 – 39835.  21953453 
Wei, J., Stebbins, J.L., Kitada, S., Dash, R., Zhai, D., Placzek, W.J., Wu, B., Rega, M., Zhang, Z., Barile, E., Yang, L., Dahl, R., Fisher, P.B., Reed, J.C., and Pellecchia, M. (2011). An optically pure apogossypolone derivative as potent pan-active inhibitor of Bcl-2 family proteins. Front Oncol. 1: 28. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2011.00028.  22655238 
Wei, J., Kitada, S., Stebbins, J.L., Placzek, W.J., Zhai, D., Wu, B., Rega, M.F., Zhang, Z., Cellitti, J., Yang, L., Dahl, R., Reed, J.C., and Pellecchia, M. (2010). Synthesis and biological evaluation of apogossypolone derivatives as pan-active inhibitors of anti-apoptotic B-cell lymphoma/leukemia-2 (Bcl-2) family proteins. J. Med. Chem. 53: 8000 – 8011.  21033669 
Placzek, W.J., J. Wei, S. Kitada, D. Zhai, J. C. Reed and M. Pellecchia (2010). A survey of the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 subfamily expression in cancer types provides a platform to predict the efficacy of Bcl-2 antagonists in cancer therapy. Cell Death and Dis., 1: e40 – 48.  21364647 
Wei, J., Stebbins, J.L., Kitada, S., Dash, R., Placzek, W.J., Rega, M.F., Wu, B., Cellitti, J., Zhai, D., Yang, L., et al. (2010). BI-97C1, an Optically Pure Apogossypol Derivative as Pan-Active Inhibitor of Antiapoptotic B-Cell Lymphoma/Leukemia-2 (Bcl-2) Family Proteins. J. Med. Chem., 53: 4166-4176.  20443627 
Pedrini, B., Placzek, W.J., Koculi, K., Ortenzi, C., Luporini, P. and Wüthrich, K. (2007). NMR Structure of the Cold-Adapted Water-Bourne Pheromone En-6 of the Antarctic Ciliate Euplotes nobilii. J. Mol. Biol., 372: 277- 286.  17663000 
Placzek, W.J., Etezady-Esfarjani, T., Herrmann, T., Pedrini, B., Peti, W., Alimenti, C., Luporini, P. and Wüthrich, K. (2007). Cold-Adapted Signal Proteins: NMR Structures of Pheromones for the Antarctic Ciliate Euplotes nobilii. IUBMB Life, 59: 578-s585.  17701553 
Placzek, W.J., Almeida, M.S. and Wüthrich, K. (2007). NMR Structure and Functional Characterization of a Human Cancer-Related Nucleoside Triphosphatase. J. Mol. Biol., 367: 788-801.  17291528 
Placzek, W.J., Almeida, M.S. and Wüthrich, K. (2006). NMR Assignment of a Human Cancer-Related Nucleoside Triphosphatase. J. Biomol. NMR 36 (S1): 59.  16933021 
Etezady-Esfarjani, T., Placzek, W.J., Herrmann, T. and Wüthrich, K. (2006). Solution Structure of the Putative Anti-Sigma-Factor Antagonist TM1442 from Thermotoga maritime in the Free and Phosphorylated States. Magn. Reson. Chem. 44 (S1): 61-70.  16826544 
Nagele, P., Mendel, J.B., Placzek, W.J., Scott, B.A., D’Avignon, D.A. and Crowder, C.M. (2005). Volatile Anesthetics Bind Rat Synaptic Snare Proteins. Anesthesiology 103: 768-778.  16192769 

NMR spectroscopy, cancer, drug discovery, peptide synthesis, structural biology, apoptosis, signaling