Stefan Knapp studied Chemistry at Marburg University (Germany) and the University of Illinois (USA). He did his PhD at Prof. Ladensteins laboratory at the Karolinska Institute (Stockholm, Sweden) where he also remains as a postdoctoral scientist. In 1999 he joined Pharmacia (Nerviano, Italy) and stayed there until 2004. Since 2004 he works as a principal investigator at the SGC, University of Oxford. In 2015 he joined the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the Goethe University in Frankfurt as well as the Buchmann Institute for Life Sciences (BMLS). He is a visiting Professor at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine and the SGC where is still maintains a research group.
My laboratory is interested in understanding molecular mechanisms that regulate protein function of key signalling molecules and how these mechanisms can be utilized for the development of highly selective and potent inhibitors (chemical probes). As a basis for this work we have generated a comprehensive set of high resolution crystal structures that cover most members of the protein family of interest. We are particularly interested in protein interactions module of the bromodomain family that specifically recognize ε-N-lysine acetylation motifs, a key event in the reading process of epigenetic marks. This effort generated several highly selective chemical probes targeting bromodomains. A second research focus is on protein kinases. Our laboratory has solved a comprehensive set of crystal structure of this large protein family offering the opportunity to understand molecular mechanisms of their regulation and developing new strategies for their selective targeting. We developed for example a number of highly selective inhibitors by exploring unusual binding modes and allosteric binding sites. A particular focus of the laboratory is also to understand structural mechanisms leading to slow binding kinetics as part of the K4DD consortium.