We are interested in understanding the mode of action of proteins involved in disease by determining their three-dimensional shapes.
Proteins display a wide variety of three-dimensional shapes, reflecting the broad range of roles that these large biological molecules have in the cell. If we can build a detailed picture of a protein’s conformation, we can learn a great deal about how it carries out its function.
In our lab we determine the structure of proteins at atomic resolution: we can see where all the thousands of atoms must be in the molecule. We combine this structural information with biochemical and biophysical measurements to interrogate the protein’s function.
Our current research falls into three areas:
- We study proteins involved in the regulation of chromatin. Our DNA is packaged up in cells in the form of chromatin. The way the genetic information is accessed within chromatin is tightly controlled, and can be a cause of cancer if this process goes wrong.
- We determine the structure of proteins in the flu virus, giving us an insight into how this constantly evolving virus can lead to pandemics.
- We are working to understand the mode of action of proteins implicated in diabetes which could be of interest for developing new drugs.
An additional objective of all our work is to be vigilant for any findings that may enable new treatment approaches for any of these diseases. We seek to use our understanding of how the proteins carry out their function to facilitate the translation of our ideas or reagents to suitable partners for development and exploitation.