Marcin Drąg, Ph.D.

Marcin Drąg's Research Focus

Prof. Drąg's research interests in chemical biology include the design and synthesis of substrates, inhibitors and activity-based probes to decipher the mechanism of action and the function of proteases in health and disease. Prof. Drąg described several new, versatile technologies useful for rapid determination of proteolytic enzyme substrate specificity. In particular, his laboratory has developed specialization in the application of a large number of unnatural amino acids in combinatorial library structures and the procedure called HyCoSuL (hybrid combinatorial substrate library) that combines natural (proteinogenic) and unnatural (non-proteinogenic) amino acids to enhance targeting affinity of peptides for proteases. He is an author of more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals (f.e.: Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, Nature Chemical Biology, Nature Protocols, Chemical Reviews, Journal of the American Chemical Society, PNAS).

Marcin Drąg's Bio

Prof. Marcin Drąg was born in Świdnica (Poland) in 1975. He earned his M.Sc. degree from Department of Chemistry at University of Wroclaw in 1999. Next, he moved to Department of Chemistry at Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, where he earned his Ph.D. in organic and bioorganic chemistry working on new inhibitors of metallo- ad cysteine proteases under supervision of prof. Pawel Kafarski. His Ph.D. thesis was awarded the best thesis in organic chemistry by Polish Chemical Society and Sigma-Aldrich (2004). In 2003 he was appointed Assistant Professor at Wroclaw University of Science and Technology and shortly after (2004) adjunct position. In years 2005-2008 he conducted postdoctoral research at The Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla, CA (USA) in prof. Guy Salvesen laboratory. During post-doc he explored protease-driven pathways involved in apoptosis, infection, inflammation, and ubiquitin signaling. After coming back to Poland, in 2011 he received Doctor of Sciences Degree in chemistry (habilitation) for work on new types of combinatorial libraries to investigate proteolytic enzymes. In 2016 he received Professor title in chemistry from President of Poland. Prof. Drąg supervised four Ph.D. students (all cum laude) and eight post-docs. From July 2018, prof. Drąg holds also Adjunct Professor position at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (La Jolla, California, USA).

scientist at work


Emerging principles in protease-based drug discovery.

Drag M, Salvesen GS

Nat Rev Drug Discov 2010 Sep ;9(9):690-701

Design of ultrasensitive probes for human neutrophil elastase through hybrid combinatorial substrate library profiling.

Kasperkiewicz P, Poreba M, Snipas SJ, Parker H, Winterbourn CC, Salvesen GS, Drag M

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2014 Feb 18 ;111(7):2518-23

Synthesis of a HyCoSuL peptide substrate library to dissect protease substrate specificity.

Poreba M, Salvesen GS, Drag M

Nat Protoc 2017 Oct ;12(10):2189-2214

Noninvasive optical detection of granzyme B from natural killer cells with enzyme-activated fluorogenic probes.

Janiszewski T, Kolt S, Kaiserman D, Snipas SJ, Li S, Kulbacka J, Saczko J, Bovenschen N, Salvesen G, Drag M, Bird PI, Kasperkiewicz P

J Biol Chem 2020 May 21 ;

Fluorescent probes towards selective cathepsin B detection and visualization in cancer cells and patient samples.

Poreba M, Groborz K, Vizovisek M, Maruggi M, Turk D, Turk B, Powis G, Drag M, Salvesen GS

Chem Sci 2019 Sep 28 ;10(36):8461-8477

Fluorescent activity-based probe for the selective detection of Factor VII activating protease (FSAP) in human plasma.

Rut W, Nielsen NV, Czarna J, Poreba M, Kanse SM, Drag M

Thromb Res 2019 Oct ;182:124-132

Exploring the prime site in caspases as a novel chemical strategy for understanding the mechanisms of cell death: a proof of concept study on necroptosis in cancer cells.

Groborz K, Gonzalez Ramirez ML, Snipas SJ, Salvesen GS, Drąg M, Poręba M

Cell Death Differ 2020 Feb ;27(2):451-465

Potent and selective caspase-2 inhibitor prevents MDM-2 cleavage in reversine-treated colon cancer cells.

Poreba M, Rut W, Groborz K, Snipas SJ, Salvesen GS, Drag M

Cell Death Differ 2019 Dec ;26(12):2695-2709

Determination of extended substrate specificity of the MALT1 as a strategy for the design of potent substrates and activity-based probes.

Kasperkiewicz P, Kołt S, Janiszewski T, Groborz K, Poręba M, Snipas SJ, Salvesen GS, Drąg M

Sci Rep 2018 Oct 30 ;8(1):15998

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