Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Our lab is interested in studying the structure and function of membrane proteins. Membranes surrounding cells protect the cell from the environment. They are highly impermeable to most polar molecules, which prevents the contents of the cell from escaping and toxins from entering. At the same time, the cells need to take up nutrients, release waste, and adjust the ion concentrations inside. ABC transporters are the most common protein machinery that pumps a variety of substrates across membranes. As some ABC proteins are related to severe diseases such as cancer, cystic fibrosis, and immune deficiency, insights of the transport mechanism will have significant impact in biology and medicine. Our recent studies of the bacterial maltose transporter show that one part of the pump opens and closes like a pair of tweezers. This motion explains how ATP is used to do the mechanical work of translocation. We are also pursuing crystallographic studies of several viral proteins that facilitate viral entry and packaging. The group of viruses we are studying includes Dengue, Yellow Fever, West Nile, and SARS-coronavirus.
Ph.D., Harvard, 1998
John Karling Distinguished Lectureship in Biology, Purdue University, 2007
- Protein Society
Faculty Presentations, 2006-2008:
- Structure and function of ABC transporters, Membrane Transport Proteins Symposium, University of New England, Biddeford, Maine, August 13-18, 2006.
- Structural studies of SopA, a bacterial ubiquitin ligase, Department of Biochemistry seminar, Baylor College of Medicine, October, 2006.
- Structural studies of the maltose transporter, Center for Cancer Experimental Therapeutics, NIH Center of Biomedical Research Excellence, Kansas City, Missouri, October 12, 2006.
- Structural studies of SopA, a bacterial ubiquitin ligase Department of Biochemistry seminar, Purdue, October, 2006.
- Structural studies of the maltose transporter Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue, November, 2006.
- Structural studies of SopA, a bacterial ubiquitin ligase, annual meeting for Pew Scholars, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, March 17-22, 2007.
- Crystal structure of the maltose transporter, FASEB Summer Research Conferences: Transport ATPases, Vermont Academy, Vermont, June 9-14, 2007.
- Crystal structure of the maltose transporter, Gordon Research Conferences: Mechanisms of membrane transport, Tilton, New Hampshire, June 10-15, 2007.
- Crystal structure of a catalytic intermediate of the maltose transporter, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, September 13-14, 2007.
- Crystal structures of a catalytic intermediate of the maltose transporter, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, October 1-2, 2007.
- Crystal structure of a catalytic intermediate of the maltose transporter, Brandeis University, Boston, Massachusetts, October 10, 2007.
- Crystal structure of a catalytic intermediate of the maltose transporter, University of California at San Diego, San Diego, California, November 30, 2007.
Conferences and Meetings, 2006-2008:
- 2006 Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Summer Research Conference Ubiquitin and Cellular Regulation, Vermont Academy, Saxtons River, Vermont, July 22-27, 2006.
- GM/CA CAT SAB Meeting, Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago, Illinois, August 27, 2007.
Professional Faculty Research
(X-ray crystallography and protein chemistry) ABC transporters and membranefusion proteins.