The basic molecules that make up our cells are carbohydrates, nucleic acids, lipids, and proteins. A fundamental principle of human disease is misregulation of one of these basic building blocks of cells; in our lab we focus on how cells deal with problems that occur in proteins. Some of the human conditions linked to these problems include Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and various cancers. Cells have specialized machinery to deal with proteins that are problematic. In general, we call these systems "protein quality control systems". Our lab is interested in the molecular details of how these protein quality control systems operate.
Quality control of cellular proteins
Generally, we are interested in how protein quality control systems function. We have a few fundamental questions we are trying to address: On a molecular level, how do these systems select targets? What makes a target protein? What unknown pathways in cells could be regulated by these systems?
Quality control throughout cells
There are a large number of integral membrane protein quality control systems in eukaryotes. We are interested in what these (relatively) unknown systems are doing.
Exploiting protein quality control for therapy
We are interested in using our understanding of these systems to exploit these systems for therapeutic benefit.