Benjamin Kwok, Ph.D.

Awards & Honours

  • New Investigator Award, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 2012-2017
  • Junior Investigator, Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec, 2010-2012
  • Merck Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2004-2007
  • Outstanding Senior Award in Chemistry, 1997
  • Summa cum laude with departmental honors in Biochemistry and Chemistry, 1997
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Summer Research Fellow, 1996

Training

  • Postdoctoral training with Tarun Kapoor, Rockefeller University, New York, 2002-2008
  • Ph.D., Yale University, New Haven, 1997-2002
  • B.S., State University of New York at Stony Brook, New York, 1994-1997

Research Support

  • Canada Foundation for Innovation
  • Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

When Benjamin Kwok began his doctoral studies at Yale University in 1997, he was fascinated by the idea of using chemical compounds as molecular probes to study biological questions. During his graduate study, he characterized several biologically active natural products that target a major pro-inflammatory signaling pathway and those inhibit the protein degradation machine, the proteasome.

Benjamin Kwok then went on to pursue his postdoctoral training to study cell division at Rockefeller University where his research incorporates his expertise in chemical biology with other areas of science including protein biochemistry, single-molecule biophysics, and high-resolution microscopy. Using this multi-disciplinary approach, he has made significant contribution to our current understanding of the mitotic kinesin motor Eg5, a key protein required for spindle assembly.

Inhibiting the formation of the mitotic spindle blocks cells from dividing. Since cancer is a disease of uncontrolled cell division, proteins that are required for spindle assembly are attractive chemotherapeutic targets. At IRIC, Benjamin Kwok’s research centers on understanding how these proteins function at the molecular level and how they contribute to spindle assembly. He hopes that this line of investigation will ultimately lead to the development of improved treatment strategies for cancer.

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